West Haven, like the nation, is in the midst of what officials are calling “15 days to slow the spread” of the Wuhan Carona Virus. The spread of the contagion has virtually shut down many businesses and erased public gatherings for the foreseeable future. Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday, called for the closure of all “non-essential” businesses, and urged all non-essential workers to stay home.
The governor hopes the request to stay home will mitigate the spread of the disease, which this week topped 300, and was expected to go higher this week. Eight deaths were attributed to the virus, with more than 15,000 cases reported at press time. Federal officials have stated since testing began late last week, the number of confirmed cases would go much higher.
Closer to home, a city resident has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Health Director Maureen B. Lillis confirmed the report last week.
“The state Department of Public Health has notified the city that a West Haven resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering,” Lillis said.
No additional information is available about the infected resident, said Lillis, citing the federal law that restricts the release of medical information.
“At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow resident for a full and speedy recovery,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said. “As we anticipate more positive cases, all residents are urged to continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”
Rossi added a message of hope to city residents.
“We will overcome this unprecedented public health challenge, not as isolated individuals but as members of a true community, with all of us working together.”
Lillis said the Health Department is closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The department is in close communication with the DPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the city’s health and safety.
Lillis said West Haven has been preparing for the coronavirus by implementing an emergency order and other safeguards to protect residents against the disease.
For the latest news, announcements and guidelines from the city, residents and business owners are strongly urged to visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page on the West Haven website at http://cityofwesthaven.com/332/Coronavirus-Disease-2019-COVID-19 or https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, city schools went on a two-week shutdown, with plans to reopen on March 31. Superintendent of Schools Neil Cavallaro originally wanted to open March 30, but Gov. Lamont has requested schools remain closed until the end of the month. The March 31 date may be extended – and is expected to be – by Lamont and state officials.
Federal officials have stated the disease still hasn’t peaked and will require extension of current decisions. When or if schools will reopen is unknown.
All city meetings and gatherings have been canceled. Universities throughout the nation are canceling commencement exercises, which begin around the second week of May. The CIAC has indefinitely postponed the spring sports season statewide, and a decision to open a curtailed season hangs in the balance.
Meanwhile, Health Director Lillis said the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus, adding that the Health Department urges all residents to follow the precautions below to prevent the virus:
— Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
— Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
— Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
— Stay home when you are sick.
— Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
— Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
— If you suspect you have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, contact your health provider.