'We were in great shape until the delta variant': Ridgefield warns residents to 'beware' as cases begin to increase

Photo of Currie Engel

RIDGEFIELD — COVID-19 cases in Ridgefield are beginning to increase again, as is the sense of déjà vu from the past 15 months.

The town recorded 15 new cases over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a town news release sent Monday night. Another three cases were recorded Monday, according to a report put together by Rick Lawrence, a member of the town’s COVID-19 task force.

As of Tuesday, the town’s new case rate is 10.9 per 100,000 residents with a positivity rate of 2.4 percent.

“We were in great shape until the delta variant,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Tuesday. “We are on alert and we’re watching the reports.”

Marconi said they sent the release Monday to remind residents to ‘beware’ of the variant and increasing cases.

The town’s positivity rate is higher than Fairfield County as a whole, which sits at 2.2 percent. The county has the same case rate as the town.

The town’s rates are still below the state’s statistics, which hit a case rate of 12.2 and positivity rate of 2.6 percent Monday.

Marconi could not provide demographic details regarding the population most recently affected, and said that the state deals with the majority of contact tracing in town.

Even with a strong vaccination record, the town is still dealing with new cases.

According to the release, nearly 18,000 Ridgefield residents have been vaccinated thus far, but Marconi urged further vaccinations. State data shows that 71.8 percent of the town’s total population has had at least one dose of the vaccine, and the local task force reports that 82.2 percent of those over 18 have initiated vaccination.

“The fact is, this is a highly contagious, widely spread virus that we need to be really concerned about,” Marconi said.

Even with a vaccine, infection is still possible.

“It can happen. [The vaccine is] not 100 percent, so use your precautions,” Marconi said.

While no mask mandate has been put in place for vaccinated town employees, Marconi said that was “not to say that we won’t in the near future, because it’s certainly an issue in progress in that it changes every day.”

Marconi asked the human resources department to communicate with staff to remind them to be cautious in the face of the delta variant.

New Milford and Brookfield are seeing an uptick in cases.

New Milford reported 14 new cases between since last Friday, including five on Tuesday alone, according to two Facebook posts from Mayor Pete Bass. The post also noted that the next town vaccine clinic would be on Aug. 4.

Brookfield and Southbury reverted back to a “yellow zone” infection status last week.

The color-coding system put in place last fall marks local infection rates using a color scale: red, orange, yellow, and gray.

Brookfield reported 14 cases and a case rate of 5.9 per 100,000 residents during two weeks at the end of July. Southbury reported 17 cases for a case rate of 6.2.

As towns fight the new variant, Marconi said he’s had at least one inquiry from a resident wondering where they could access a COVID-19 test.

“The one question I got asked was: ‘Where do you get tested today?’” Marconi said.

The first selectman suggested residents contact their primary care doctor or consult the state website.

He said: “If the demand is there for testing and it’s not being met, we need to take a look at it.”