On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the CT Department of Public Health reported an unusually high, one-day jump of 22 new COVID-19 cases for Wilton, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 839.

That number also reflected a high test-positivity rate of 14.6%, well above the statewide level of 4.36%.

According to First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, 22 new cases “is substantially more than the number of cases received today for contact tracing,” and the Health Department is investigating to understand the difference.

Superintendent Kevin Smith said that there were seven new cases reported in the Wilton Public Schools, and 203 people in all isolating or in quarantine:

Genesis Program:  2
Middlebrook School:  3
Cider Mill:  1
Miller-Driscoll:  1

The high numbers are indicators of Wilton’s trend in the wrong direction. As of Feb. 2, Wilton has hit its highest surge so far since the start of the pandemic. Wilton’s two-week rolling average case rate has reached 48 new cases/100,000.*

Yesterday, Vanderslice’s nightly update reminded residents that the primary benchmark used by Health Director Barry Bogle in decisions about school learning models is that case rate, following recommendations from the CT DPH and Department of Education:

  • Less than 10 indicates more in-person
  • 10-24.9 indicates the need to balance in-person and remote (hybrid) 
  • 25 or more indicates the need to move to more remote learning

So far, January has been Wilton’s worst month in total number of cases since the first COVID case was reported in Wilton 11 months ago. There have been 215 new cases in January alone–over 25% of the town’s total.

Here’s how things break down by age groups (compared to each group’s percentage of the Wilton population), looking at the weekly progression since the week of Nov. 10.

  • Statewide:
    • 2,568 new cases, 256,522 total cases
    • 900 hospitalized patients (-12)
    • 7,133 deaths (+14)
  • Fairfield County 
    • 664 new cases,  73,651 total cases
    • 211 Hospitalized Patients (-18)
    • 1,940 deaths (+2)

Vaccine Progress

Earlier this week the state began publishing a new map tracking the state’s progress of vaccine distribution by town.

So far, Wilton is reported to have given first doses of the vaccine to 1,748 people, or 9.53% of the overall population. The town has administered 1,046 first doses to residents age 75 or older, or 84.7% of that age group in the town. Vanderslice said only 189 residents aged 75 or older still need a first dose.

Vanderslice reported the following on Monday evening:

“At his press conference Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont gave a shout-out to Wilton for being one of the “champs” in vaccinations. Unfortunately, less than 50% of all CT residents 75 and up have received a vaccine and our major cities have rates of less than 30%.

“This week, the State expects to receive 57,000 first doses and 41,000 second doses. Those first doses are not enough to vaccinate the more than 125,000 remaining CT residents aged 75 and up.”

Vanderslice said that the state is expected to begin booking first dose vaccine appointments for residents aged 65-74 within two weeks. She said that in Wilton, this group is more than 1.5 times the size of the 75-and-older age group.

Unfortunately, given vaccine shortages at the state and federal level, Wilton’s allocation of vaccines has been reduced to only 100 doses for this week and is expected to remain at that number for the next several weeks.

Because of the dosage supply, Wilton will not be able to provide the 65- to 74-year-old age group with the same concierge service level that has been provided to residents 75-and-up.   Vanderslice said that “when eligible, residents 65+ should expect the need to schedule their vaccine appointment themselves either

  • “Directly with one of the large health centers/hospitals that has their own appointment system
  • “Using VAMS to locate a provider
  • “[By] calling 877.918.2224
  • “Directly with retails pharmacies,” which is scheduled to begin slowly in mid-February.

She suggested that residents age 65-74 start to plan and familiarize themselves with how to book appointments now by:

  • Identifying locations for vaccines in the Wilton area with this zip code search. To see locations in the Danbury area enter 06810. The appointment booking method is included in the search results.
  • Watching the VAMS video tutorial prepared by Wilton Social Services.
  • Saving this list of solutions for common errors with VAMS:
    • You must have an email to register.
    • Enter your email in lower case.
    • When asked if you have registered for the vaccine, they are asking if you have an appointment; answer no.

She reiterated that anyone who is not yet eligible for a vaccine should not book an appointment now in anticipation of becoming eligible. Anyone who does risks being canceled and ending up further back in line.

The town is not maintaining a waitlist for residents under age 75.

The town’s scheduled vaccine clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 3 is proceeding as planned.

Vaccines in Pharmacies

The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution will roll out next week when the Biden administration will ship the first one million vaccine doses directly to retail pharmacies. Starting Feb. 11, 6,500 stores around the country will start to distribute the vaccine to eligible people.

CVS Health has selected the first 12 pharmacy locations in Connecticut that will begin administering vaccines, as part of the company’s initial 11-state rollout, eventually expanding to CVS Pharmacy locations across the country.

For CVS Pharmacy locations that will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations on Feb. 11, appointments will become available for booking as early as Feb. 9 as stores receive shipments of vaccine.

The supply headed to Connecticut CVS locations for the limited rollout in the state will be approximately 6,800 total doses. Participating CVS Pharmacies in Connecticut are located in Avon, Bristol, Coventry, Glastonbury, Guilford, Hamden, Middletown, North Haven and Uncasville.

CVS officials said as more supply becomes available the company will expand to more locations and offer additional appointments.

Vaccines at participating CVS Pharmacy locations in Connecticut will be available to individuals meeting state criteria, which will be confirmed by the state in advance of the rollout. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can call CVS customer service at 800.746.7287. Walk-in vaccinations without an appointment will not be provided.

The availability of COVID-19 vaccines in Connecticut is part of an initial 11 state rollout and includes approximately 335 CVS Pharmacy locations across California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Vaccines will eventually be available at CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability, with the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.

In addition to making COVID-19 vaccines available in local pharmacy locations, CVS Health continues to vaccinate residents and staff at more than 570 long-term care facilities across Connecticut. As made clear by regularly updated data CVS Health makes publicly available, first doses at all facilities in the state that selected CVS Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations will be complete by mid-February with second doses well underway.

*GOOD Morning Wilton’s 2-week rolling average daily case rate is more current than that of the CT DPH, which is using numbers reported as of Jan. 23. That rate is 30.3/100,000–still above the indicator for a more remote learning model.

One reply on “COVID-19 Update, Feb. 2: Unwanted High Points in Wilton’s Worst Month of Pandemic So Far”

  1. I want to thank the Visiting Nurse Service of Wilton who arranged the vaccination clinic yesterday (2/3/2021) at Wilton High School. It was excellent and extremely well managed to administer vaccinations to Wilton Residents. The volunteers, nurses, police and others did such a wonderful job. We were in and out in about 1/2 hour. Other states and communities should follow the lead of Wilton. Great job!

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