COVID-19 Alert declared for Danbury by state

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Danbury, state officials declared a COVID-19 alert for the city urging residents to “limit” activities this weekend, the mayor said Friday night.

Ridgefield Director of Health Ed Briggs said Saturday that Ridgefield had not experienced a spike in COVID-19, as Danbury had.

“Ridgefield has had no spikes in cases in quite some time,” Briggs said. “Danbury has a much more diverse population and a number of variables causing the spike.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said in a tweet at 7:10 p.m. Friday that the state Department of Public Health declared a coronavirus alert for the city.

Many Ridgefielders recieved notice of the state’s Danbury warning through a CTALERT messagesFriday evening.

The virus alert from state officials urges Danbury residents to stay home, avoid unnecessary outings, limit indoor gatherings to only those you live with and avoid attending church services.

“Please limit your activities this weekend,” Boughton said.

Close to 2,300 Danbury residents have had the virus since March. From Aug. 2 through Thursday, Danbury reported at least 178 new coronavirus cases, according to the state Department of Public Health on Friday.

Fourty-four additional cases among Danbury residents were reported Friday, according to Boughton.

Danbury saw 29 additional positive tests on Wednesday, with two new cases Tuesday, 14 on Monday and 24 on Sunday.

State officials said the Department of Public Health is working with municipal and local health officials in Danbury to get the word out at community centers and churches to take extra precautions for the time being.

Residents are urged to stay home when possible and wear a face covering any time they leave their home. Indoor gatherings should be limited to only those living in the residence. Residents are encouraged to avoid going to large church services, as well as large outdoor gatherings.

The alert was issued by the state Department of Public Health after what officials said was a significant spike in cases over the last two weeks, with most of the outbreak involving Danbury residents’ recent travel — domestic and international.

The state requires anyone traveling to Connecticut from many other states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival as a precaution. Anyone traveling internationally is urged to self-quarantine for that same time period, according to recommendations from the CDC.

“This is a serious outbreak in Danbury and we really need an all hands on deck approach to keeping the community extra socially distanced in the near future. We need everyone in Danbury to take extreme precaution,” said a statement Friday from Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health.

She said any residents who believe they might have been exposed should get tested immediately and self-quarantine for 14 days if they test positive.

“We need you to answer your phone if a contact tracer tries to get in touch. If you are over the age of 60 or have a chronic disease and live in Danbury, you should stay home,” Gifford said. “We need employers to help make sure everyone with symptoms or who was exposed is staying home and not coming to work. Friends and neighbors could help by supporting those who need to stay home with food and other errands. We can limit spread of the virus if we all work together.”

The virus alert for the city issued by the state on Friday came just days after the city canceled youth sports leagues because of a spike in cases.

Youth sports, as well as travel and family barbecues, have been linked to the recent increase of cases in Danbury.

The seven-day average of new cases went from 2.3 the week of July 19 to 8.4 last week, according to Kara Prunty, the acting director of health for Danbury.

Two doctors analyzed the data and recommended the sports shutdown, Boughton said earlier this week.