Ridgefield first selectman advises residents to ‘cover up’ amid concerns of omicron variant

Photo of Alyssa Seidman

RIDGEFIELD — First Selectman Rudy Marconi was trying to decide the best day to get his booster shot when he spoke this week to Hearst Connecticut Media about the town’s latest COVID statistics.

Ridgefield’s positivity rate was 2.5 percent as of Wednesday. Whereas Fairfield County is currently reporting 21 percent of new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day average, Ridgefield is reporting 20 percent.

“We’re running hot relative to the county and all the towns around us,” Marconi said.

Ridgefield has reported 105 cases of COVID-19 cases since Nov. 1, according to a report from the town’s contact tracer, Pamela Dunaway. Unvaccinated individuals comprised 82 percent of those cases, and 30 percent comprised 5-17 year olds.

If you were to add individuals who did not get a booster shot to that data set, Marconi said, the percentage would jump to 93 percent. Nineteen of the 105 cases were breakthroughs, he added.

COVID hospitalizations in Fairfield County have more than doubled since last month, with 87 people hospitalized as of Dec. 1, according to a report from Ridgefield data scientist Rick Lawrence.

“About a month ago it was ... level for about a week,” Marconi noted, “and it just started growing from there.

The recent emergence of the COVID omicron variant has put world leaders on high alert; the first confirmed U.S. case was detected in California on Dec. 1. On Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio reported that five cases of the omicron variant had been detected in neighboring New York state.

With the presence of a new global variant and local COVID cases on the rise, Marconi is reminding residents to stay vigilant. Although the town lifted its indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals in late September, he is recommending people wear a mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

“I went to do a little shopping last night, I wore my mask,” he said. “I’m not telling anyone they have to, but the increase (suggests) that it’s out there. Cover up, wear that mask and get vaccinated. Those are the two best things you can do to keep yourself safe and healthy.”

Almost 74 percent of Rigdefielders age 5 and up are fully vaccinated, according to Lawrence’s numbers. Marconi said those due for their booster shot should get one to “help out with the new variant.”

“The logical conclusion … (is to) get your shot, get your booster, get vaccinated,” he added. “The majority of people being hospitalized are unvaccinated people. If you’re not gonna get vaccinated, you’re taking a chance.”