Norwalk, CT – On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling announced the first positive case of COVID-19 novel coronavirus of a Norwalk resident. The resident (a male in his 40s) has been in contact with health officials and no further details about the resident will be provided to protect their privacy.
Rilling made the announcement at an afternoon press conference at City Hall with Norwalk Director of Health Deanna D’Amore and State Senator Bob Duff. Officials stressed that residents limit social gatherings of any size as the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic continues.
“We certainly knew this was coming. The virus is here, and as the health experts have told us, the numbers will rise as more people are tested. That is why it is imperative that social gatherings at homes, businesses, or parks be limited,” Mayor Rilling said. “I understand the impulse to get together – even small gatherings or just a few friends – but this undermines our community-wide efforts. I know this will cause an inconvenience, but we all must do our part to prevent, or at the least, slow down the spread of this coronavirus.”
Local businesses are strongly encouraged to limit gatherings and take the necessary actions to protect the health of their employees and customers. Employees should telecommute to work, if possible. Anyone who believes they may have come into contact with COVID-19, or have a cough and fever, should call their doctor and self-isolate.Those who feel symptomatic should call their doctor for guidance and avoid showing up to an emergency room or doctor’s office unannounced.
“Social distancing helps slow the spread of this virus. This is critically important as it can prevent a lot of people from getting sick all at once and overwhelming the health care system, which is also referred to as flattening the curve,” D’Amore said. “With spring around the corner, I know people will be tempted to get together in groups outside and indoors, especially our young people and those home from college. I cannot stress this enough – please limit social interactions for the foreseeable future.”
Officials reiterated that school and other event cancellations should not be viewed as vacation or a time for celebration. The number of COVID-19 cases in the state are expected to rise in the days and weeks ahead. Community spread is likely with this highly infectious disease and it should be assumed it is being transmitted undedicated.
“We knew this was coming. This is not the flu and we have to take this seriously. This is the first and will not be the last case in Norwalk,” said Sen. Duff. “We must practice social distancing and we need the public’s help. We need to do everything we can to mitigate community spread.”
The State of Connecticut has launched a Joint Information Center (JIC) as part of a coordinated effort to provide critical institutions playing a major role in the response with information on developments related to coronavirus. The JIC is intended to provide all stakeholders – including the media, municipalities, school districts, hospitals, medical providers, colleges and universities, the business community, and others – with a resource for specific information related to the State of Connecticut and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The JIC can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 860-754-8342 or emailing COVID19.JIC@ct.gov.
The public is reminded that hours and services at City Hall will be limited for at least the next two weeks. The public is asked to visit norwalkct.org and take advantage of the many online services available. The City’s Customer Service Department will be available to answer questions and can be reached at 203-854-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 will also be shared online at norwalkct.org/coronavirus.