Wilton officials had fingers crossed that recent lower COVID-19 case numbers would continue to be the trend. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, no pun intended. Instead, a post-holiday vacation surge seems to have hit both the town and Wilton schools, with numbers on the rise.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, the CT Department of Public Health reported that Wilton had 13 new one-day positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the town’s to-date total to 643. That’s an increase of 20 cases in two days–and 41 cases in the first week of the year alone. To put it in perspective, Wilton’s total case count was 43 for the entire month of October.

Also disappointing is that Wilton lost its “sole orange town” status, as it rejoined the red-alert list of every other southeastern-CT municipality (and practically almost every other town in the state). “Red Alert” towns have a rolling two-week average of 15 or more cases per 100,000 people.

Wilton Public Schools are also showing evidence of rising case numbers and exposure. Compare the district’s “COVID Tracker” from Monday, Jan. 4–the first day of classes following winter break–to the numbers published on Thursday:

Monday, Jan. 4
Updated as of Jan. 4, 2021, at 3:54 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 7

Town officials acknowledge that the situation is not a surprise, although they’d hoped Wilton might escape the post-holiday surge after cases seemed to hover between 4-6 for several days, even over the New Year.

“We felt like, through the weekend, Monday, we’d been doing better than we thought we would,” First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice told GOOD Morning Wilton on Thursday after the state released its daily report.

But the rise in cases would fit the timeline of people getting positive results from tests taken either after returning to Wilton from out-of-town trips or following holiday gatherings.

Vanderslice is wary of what the next couple of days will bring. “We’ve had 20 cases over the last two days, that’s what has been reported through the state. But we’ve got residents calling the Wilton Health Department with cases that the state hasn’t reported yet,” she said, adding, “I think we’re going to have a bad day Friday.”