Schools Get Test Kits & Masks; Wilton’s 180 One-Week Cases; 235 School Cases; CT’s 24% Test Pos. Rate

Omicron continues to push COVID metrics to extremes, both in Wilton and across the state. Here are the stats as of Tuesday, Jan. 4:

Wilton

  • New one-day cases:  21
  • New seven-day case count:  180
  • New two-week case count: 327
  • Total cases since start of pandemic: 1,906
  • One-day positivity rate: 16.8% (down slightly from 17.05% the previous day)
  • Two-week rolling daily average new cases: 23.36
  • Two-week rolling daily average new cases (per 100,000): 127.63* (up from 124.51 the previous day)

Wilton Public Schools

An email from Wilton Public School Superintendent Kevin Smith gave the following information about cases in the district:

  • New one-day cases reported to the schools:  108
    • WHS: 54
    • Middlebrook: 28
    • Miller-Driscoll: 19
    • Cider Mill: 7
  • Staff Confirmed Positive and Isolating: 31
  • Students Confirmed Positive and Isolating: 204

Statewide

  • New one-day cases: 10,602
  • One-day test positivity rate: 23.85%*
  • New one-day hospitalizations of people with COVID: 110
  • Current number of patients hospitalized with COVID: 1,562
  • Number of hospitalized COVID patients who are not fully vaccinated: 1,062 (68%)
  • Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is updated once per week every Thursday. The most recently reported total number of deaths is 9,160.

* indicates a new record high

Duplicate Signups for Town’s Test Kit Distribution

On Tuesday, Town officials discovered that some residents had signed up for multiple spots in Wilton’s upcoming test kit distribution, “whether knowingly or unknowingly,” according to an email the town sent through its alert system. As a result, they cancelled duplicate signups and made 215 spot available again.

The town’s email provided another signup link that they activated at 6 p.m. Tuesday and, like the day before, all spots filled up quickly.

The message reiterated the limits in place set by the town: one time slot per person, one vehicle per household, three test kits per vehicle. In addition, the town asked that because the free kit distribution was meant to be prioritized for residents who are showing symptoms, have had a known exposure or are public facing, in-person workers, anyone signing up will be asked to confirm that they qualify and should not register unless they do meet those categories.

The distribution is scheduled to take place Wednesday morning, Jan. 5, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Allen’s Meadow. It is a drive-through event being run by CERT.

Wilton Public Schools Update

State Distributes 670,000 COVID-19 Rapid Self-Tests to K-12 Schools and Early Childcare Providers

Gov. Ned Lamont announced [Tuesday, Jan. 4] that Connecticut distributed an allocation of 670,000 COVID-19 rapid self-tests to public and private K-12 schools and early childcare providers statewide. According to a press release from the governor’s office, this allocation is the first phase of his administration’s distribution of self-tests for schools and early childcare providers, and he anticipates additional allocations to be announced in the coming days as the state continues securing more tests from vendors.

A total of 620,000 of the tests were given to public and private K-12 schools, and the remaining 50,000 were given to early childcare providers. Schools and early childcare providers were able to pick up their assigned allotments from the state’s five distribution centers on Tuesday.

The tests, which are intended to be used by both students and staff, were manufactured by iHealth Labs and FlowFlex. A document published by the state breaks out who each test is meant for, and how many boxes or individual kits each school received: iHealth kits are meant for public school students (Wilton Public Schools received 20 boxes), and Flow Flex tests are intended for public school staff and non-public school students and staff (WPS received two boxes, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy received 70 kits, and Seven Acres Montessori received 120 kits).

Schools’ Superintendent Kevin Smith confirmed to GOOD Morning Wilton that the district has already picked up the kits allotted to them.

“We received 1,800 iHealth test kits that are designated for students. Each kit contains two tests. These are intended to be distributed to families with students exhibiting symptoms. These will be delivered to the nurses’ offices for distribution. We hope to have them ready to go [Wednesday],” Smith said.

He added that the district’s allotment of FlowFlex kits from the state totaled 576 single use tests. Those, together with another 576 single-use tests that the district had already received from what the town had been allocated earlier from the state, are intended for WPS staff. So far, the school has distributed one single-use test, along with one N95 mask, to each district staff member. Smith said the remainder is being held in reserve should the district experience an outbreak among athletic teams and have a need to test.

Smith said more details and communication will be forthcoming from the district to families beginning Wednesday.

He did mention something in his Tuesday update to families about plans in the works to make some N95 masks available for students in addition to staff.

“We are in the process of procuring and developing a distribution plan for distributing masks to students who are in need of protective, well-fitting face coverings. These masks will be available on an as-needed basis and are not intended to replace masks brought in from home. Rather, we plan to use this approach to reinforce this important mitigation measure in our schools at a time when we see some students needing reminders about mask use, others having masks that are becoming worn, and still others looking for more protective face coverings,” he wrote.

The governor’s press release said that use of the tests “is at the discretion of schools and early childcare providers,” but that the CT State Department of Education provided school officials with guidance for how they should be used in the following cases:

  • If a child or staff person exhibits symptoms and needs to be screened for COVID-19
  • If a child or staff member has a direct exposure to an individual with COVID-19
  • If a class or program is experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19, a school may want to distribute tests to all students in that classroom if they have difficulty accessing tests.
  • In addition, students and staff who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to test again.

Lamont: Schools will Stay Open, Despite Omicron Surge

Lamont held a press conference on Tuesday joined by Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker and Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, in a united show of administrative support keeping CT schools open and learning in-person.

His message came with an acknowledgement that despite hitting a 24% positivity rate Tuesday, that the state’s reliance on mask usage, testing, mitigation strategies and vaccines will be key to keeping students in school.

“I think there’s nothing more important for our state and for our kids than doing everything we can to keep them in the classroom safely. I’ve got a big shout out to our teachers and educators, stepping up, getting back in the classroom. I know it’s complicated. I appreciate the school bus drivers, some anxiety there. I know the parents, some say, ‘Maybe not now, maybe I’ll hold off,’ but I’m really proud of the fact that the vast majority of our schools are open and doing everything they can to keep them open. I know that that’s in the best interest of the kids,” Lamont said.

Related COVID Stories

“Connecticut lawmakers, local officials press Gov. Lamont for statewide mask mandate” (Hartford Courant)