Two more deaths as positive coronavirus cases rise in Shelton
SHELTON — Two more coronavirus-related deaths bring the city’s total to 39, as Mayor Mark Lauretti urges residents to remain home as much as possible and continue to practice social distancing.
Overall, there are 224 positive cases in the city, by far the most in the Valley, according to Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD) data released Saturday. In all, there are 41 Valley deaths from complications related to COVID-19, and 38 of those deaths, including the two most recent ones in Shelton, were residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
“As we continue to assist in slowing the spread of the virus,” Lauretti said, “please remember to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, stay home unless leaving home is necessary, use hand sanitizer and wear face coverings or masks as advised.”
Lauretti updated city residents Saturday with a Code Red message, detailing the city closures and stating that trails, parks, playgrounds and the high school track remain open to the public.
“Stay safe and enjoy the Easter holiday as best we can,” the mayor said.
For public health surveillance, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated deaths are defined as patients who tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of death, said City Public Safety Director Michael Maglione, adding that this is not a determination of the cause of death.
Maglione said last week that several positive cases are in the city’s nursing home community, but the virus is also among the general population. There are five nursing home facilities in Shelton, according to Maglione, housing some 450 residents altogether.
The Valley now has 483 positive cases, with 40 more recorded Saturday. NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek said the increase in local cases is largely related to “catch up of data entry by the state Department of Public Health into the shared secure online disease surveillance system as well as the recent implementation of a new method for reporting cases to the DPH by the labs and providers.”
Stelmaszek said the health district is continuing to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet between you and others if you must go out.
“It is evident that we remain in the acceleration phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning we are consistently receiving an increasing number of cases,” Stelmaszek said. “With an increasing number of cases, we can expect that we will continue to see an increased number of COVID-19-related deaths. We expect the Valley cases to continue to rise over the next few days.”
To minimize the amount of people who can potentially be exposed, Stelmaszek said families should designate one person per household to do grocery shopping or other necessary errands. Those going out in public should wear a cloth face covering, she added.
Of the Valley deaths, 32 were people 80 and older, eight were between 70 and 79, and one was between 60 and 69 years of age.
Besides Shelton’s 224 positive cases, there are 74 positives in Naugatuck, 67 in Ansonia, 63 in Seymour including two deaths, 39 in Derby and 16 in Beacon Falls.
Data show that 150, or 31 percent, of the 483 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 109 of Shelton’s 224 confirmed COVID-19 cases are residents of nursing or assisting living facilities.
Positive cases cover a wide range of ages, with Valley data showing that 111 people are 80 and older; 54 are between 70 and 79; 73 are between 60 and 69; 68 are between 50 and 59; 75 are between 40 and 49; 65 are between 30 and 39; and 36 are between 20 and 29.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least May 20 and directed employees at nonessential businesses to stay home until further notice. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The governor has stated that schools may remain closed until the fall.
“Residents should continue to heed the advice of their chief elected officials and stay home as much as possible and continue to practice social distancing to avoid exposure and further spread of the virus,” Stelmaszek said.
For more information about making or using cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
The state Department of Public Health now publishes a report at ct.gov/coronavirus that breaks down positive COVID-19 cases by town.