COVID-19 Update, Feb. 16–New CDC Guidance for Schools

In her update on Monday night, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice discussed new guidance issued for schools by the CDC, including new indicators and thresholds for determining the risk of transmission within the community. The new indicators replace the previous 14-day average daily per 100,000 indicators.

The first metric is Total New Cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. This is calculated by adding the total number of cases in the past seven days, dividing by the population, and then multiplying by 100,000.

The second indicator is Percentage of NAATs (including PCR) that are positive during the past seven days. This is calculated by taking the total number of positive cases in the past seven days and dividing by the total number of diagnostic tests taken in the last seven days.

CDC Indicators and Thresholds for Community Transmission of COVID-19
Indicator Low Transmission Moderate Transmission Substantial Transmission High Transmission
Blue Yellow Orange Red
Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days 0-9 10-49 50-99 ≥100
Percentage of NAATs that are positive during the past 7 days <5.0% 5.0%-7.9% 8.0%-9.9% ≥10.0%

The CDC guidance states that if the two indicators suggest different levels, the higher threshold should be considered when determining mitigation strategies.

Recommended Implementation of Mitigation Strategies, Testing, and Safe K-12 School Learning Modes by Level of Community Transmission for Schools that Implement Expanded Screening Testing
Low Transmission Blue Moderate Transmission Yellow Substantial Transmission Orange High Transmission Red
All schools: Universal and correct use of masks is required; physical distancing; handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine. Diagnostic testing: Symptomatic students, teachers, and staff and close contacts referred for diagnostic testing
K-12 schools open for full in-person instruction. Physical distancing of 6 feet or more to the greatest extent possible Elementary schools in hybrid learning mode or reduced attendance. Physical distancing of 6 feet or more is required
Middle and high schools in hybrid learning mode or reduced attendance. Physical distancing of 6 feet or more is required Middle and high schools in virtual only instruction unless they can strictly implement all mitigation strategies, and have few cases; schools that are already open for in-person instruction can remain open, but only if they strictly implement mitigation strategies and have few cases
Sports and extracurricular activities occur; physical distancing of 6 feet or more to the greatest extent possible Sports and extracurricular activities occur with physical distancing of 6 feet or more required Sports and extracurricular activities occur only if they can be held outdoors, with physical distancing of 6 feet or more Sports and extracurricular activities are virtual only

Wilton, Fairfield County and the State of Connecticut were all Red-High Transmission with the following total seven-day new cases per 100,000 based on cases reported as of 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.  Positivity indicated Blue-Low Transmission.

  • Wilton:  120
  • Fairfield County:  190
  • State of CT:  180

Even though levels are high, Vanderslice reported that the rate of transmission is slowing in Wilton, Fairfield County and the state versus January’s rates.

She also cautioned that “unfortunately, health officials across the country continue to warn that by mid-March the “U.K.” variant (B.1.1.7) will be the dominant virus.

On Monday, Feb. 15, CT Department of Public Health announced the first Connecticut case of the “South African” variant (B.351). The patient is a resident of Fairfield County, aged between 60 and 70 and had not been outside the area.

Current Vaccine Information

As of the morning of Sunday, Feb. 14, the CDC reported the following vaccine information  for Connecticut:

  • 674,704 vaccines administered
  • 473,106 residents or 13% of Connecticut’s population have received a first dose
  • 79% of doses delivered to Connecticut have been administered

The town of Wilton is scheduled to hold a second dose clinic on Thursday, Feb. 18. However, snow is forecasted for that day. Vanderslice said that if there is a weather delay, Wilton Social Services personnel will reach out to appointment holders.

Case Information

The following is data, as of 8:30 p.m. Sunday night, from Monday’s CT DPH report versus Friday’s Feb. 12 report.

Data Point Wilton Fairfield County State
New Cases 11 755 2,905
Cases-PTD 890 77,266 270,242
Positivity 2.60% n/a 2.98%
Tests Reported 423 n/a 97,516
Hosp. Patients n/a 168 618
Net Change n/a -26 -56
Deaths 47 1,986 7,447
Change  flat 12 66