Last week in Wilton’s COVID news was one of contrasts:  on one hand, the town dealt with two outbreaks of the virus (at Wilton High School and the School Sisters of Notre Dame convent) and saw its total COVID case number climb above 800 (to 806) with nine new cases added Friday; on the other hand, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice announced that Wilton’s vaccination rate is first in Fairfield County and second overall in the state for the percentage of people age 75-and-up who have received the vaccine.

According to the CT Department of Public Health, 62.3% of Wilton’s 1,235 residents aged 75 and up have been vaccinated. Only Bozrah, which has an age 75-and-up population of 178, is higher at 66.3%.

“This is an indicator of our proactive approach, the great work of Wilton’s vaccine team and residents’ enthusiasm for the vaccine,” Vanderslice wrote in her Friday evening update to residents.

Among the people deserving credit for making that happen are Wilton’s Emergency Ops Team, town employees, Vanderslice, Sarah Gioffre, Patricia Brandt, Sarah Heath, Stephanie Rowe, Barry Bogle, the Health Department, Wilton CERT, the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and many others, as well as Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Rates for surrounding towns: Westport–34.1%, Weston–41.3%, New Canaan–39.4%, Ridgefield–56.7%, and Norwalk–24.5%.

Wilton has scheduled another vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 3 for Wilton residents aged 75 and up. Residents who qualify and have not scheduled an appointment through Social Services can email Social Services Director Sarah Heath, and include name, address, date of birth and phone number.

Vanderslice also provided the breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Wilton by age group since Nov. 10. The two recent outbreaks are reflected in the spikes seen in the age groups most impacted:  the outbreak at School Sisters is seen during the week of Jan. 19-25, when the cases among people 65-and-over account for half of all cases in Wilton, while Wilton High School’s event drove the rise in cases among 15-24 year-olds for the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1.

AgesWilton PopulationNov. 10-Dec. 28Dec. 29-Jan. 4Jan. 5-11Jan. 12-18Jan. 19-25Jan. 26-Feb. 1

Statewide COVID News

Vanderslice reported new controls across the state for the vaccine appointment process.

“Effective this week, area hospitals and other vaccine providers are implementing new controls. This is being done because some CT residents are attempting to ‘skip the line’ by registering for the vaccine, even though they are not currently eligible. The time and resources required to weed out those residents has slowed down the vaccination process for everyone. If you know of someone, who successfully skipped the line, and were considering the same, the jig is up,” she wrote.

She advised residents not to make an appointment unless eligible to do so.

“One of the reasons Connecticut is a leader in doses administered and isn’t experiencing the level of problems occurring in other states is because the state has adopted an orderly, staged approach to distribution. Please help keep it that way for everyone’s benefit.”

The state continues to ramp up vaccine delivery to residents, with the demand for vaccinations and the ability to administer doses already outpacing the number of vaccines Connecticut is receiving from the federal government.

As part of that vaccine administration plan, CVS Health opened its first COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Connecticut, with more to come as spring approaches. There is still no announced date for vaccine clinics at area CVS locations, including in Wilton.

Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont announced he plans to extend his emergency powers declaration through April 20, but at the same time, he will roll back some coronavirus restrictions as infection rates and test positivity metrics continue to improve–and despite the discovery in CT of new, highly-contagious variants of the virus.

Among the changes, Lamont said he plans to lift current capacity limits on religious services, which stand now at 100 people. According to the Hartford Courant, the new rules will allow for 50% capacity at religious gatherings.

Lamont’s original orders had been set to expire Feb. 9.

One prohibition the governor did extend was on interstate hockey, joining his fellow governors of Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire in announcing an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least March 31, 2021. The prohibition will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions.

The states previously announced a regional suspension through at least January 31, 2021, due to coronavirus outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities. As public health data continues to evolve, the states will reassess the need for continued restrictions on interstate sports activities.