Darien numbers

An error in reporting coronavirus positive results added an additional 25 cases to Darien’s total this week. But Darien Health Department director David Knauf said it was cases staggered over the last two months, not a sudden surge.

On Wednesday, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson provided her daily update on her Facebook page saying the town’s health department was notified today that there has been a coding error with positive cases from “certain COVID-19 testing laboratories.”

“This error has resulted in positive cases being significantly under reported to cities and towns. As a result, the total number of cases reported to the Town of Darien jumped from 153 on April 21 to 176 on April 22,” she said.

Knauf told The Darien Times Thursday that he does a conference call twice a week with the Department of Public Health and said Darien’s cases had been leveling off.

Knauf said another local health director tipped him off that one of the local labs hadn’t been having their test results posted with the updated information.

“There wasn't a clearly defined code at first, so initially one of the labs didn't have their results being coded and updated at all. That resulted in Darien's cases jumping up 20-25 which was a major jump from what we had seen,” he said.

Knauf said the newest reported cases don’t represent a big jump in new cases — as many of the uncounted cases go all the way back to March.

The state data hasn't been as rock solid as he would have wanted it to be, Knauf said. But he said it isn’t surprising because “these labs have done more testing in the last two months then would normally do in a year with the same staffing levels.”

“It is easy to criticize that the data isn't right but they are working with a system that wasn't set up for this — it is a new disease, new coding, and the same number of people on staff. With the logistics of this it is next to impossible not to have an issue,” Knauf said.

Knauf said the state did not reveal the name of the lab or medical office that was coding incorrectly.

As of Thursday, April 23, there were 177 cases, 9 hospitalizations, and four deaths in Darien.

Stevenson added Thursday that “timely and accurate data is the only guide we have to understand the impacts of how this virus is affecting our communities.”

State numbers

There are currently 23,100 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,639 deaths in Connecticut. Read more detail here.

State officials are working on a plan to re-open Connecticut, potentially some time in June.

Indra Nooyi — the retired chair and CEO of PepsiCo and top business executive leading the efforts to reopen the state — said the committee to reopen Connecticut has been brainstorming ways to “selectively” reopen the economy when the time comes.

“We are never, ever going to not focus on public health,” Nooyi said. She estimated the state will start to reopen in June, but will do it “very carefully and in small steps.”

As of Friday morning, 2,719,522 cases of the coronavirus had been reported worldwide, including 869,172 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Schools

Darien Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley updated the Board of Education and the community about the new proposed grading plan for eLearning. Secondary students will have a different plan than elementary school students. Read more here.

Darien students chosen as the district’s best Young Composers put on a concert via YouTube. Watch here.

Other students took a musical and humorous approach to eLearning. Watch here.

As the school closures continue, the district is now offering free grab-and-go lunches to all district students. Read more here.

The Darien Times is partnering with the Darien Athletic Foundation to spotlight seniors in spring sports. Check out all the profiles here.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have been giving back to the community. Read more about Girl Scouts donating cookies and making cards for hospital staff here and more about Boy Scouts making face shields here.

Budget

There have been various discussions throughout the week regarding the process and possible reductions to the town and school budgets.

Several conversations have been held about how to interpret Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order regarding streamlining the town’s budget processes by eliminating town meeting votes for approval. Questions were raised as to whether that order included towns with Representative Town Meetings.

This week, Lamont’s office offered more detailed guidance that specifically excluded RTMs and said RTM should vote as usual. Darien’s RTM is scheduled to meet virtually Monday night on other matters. Read more here.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on individuals’ and businesses’ economics, the Board of Finance is working to try to keep the mill rate increase flat, or keep residents’ tax level flat. Read more here about that discussion.

The Board of Selectmen voted to send a tax deferment plan to give local tax payers until Oct. 1 to pay their taxes if they meet Office of Policy Management guidelines to the RTM for a Monday vote. Local landlords who receive reprieve from tax deadlines must also show they are giving their tenants a break on rent. Read more here.

Saluting heroes

The town continues to celebrate those on the front lines on Saturday nights at 7 p.m. Church bells will ring, sirens will sound, and residents are encouraged to clap and bang pots and pans. Read more here.

Town residents are also encouraged to tie rose bows outside their homes to salute those on the front lines. Find out more here.

Testing

Darien is conducting testing at Darien High School Monday afternoons and Friday mornings.

Dr. Steven Murphy said Murphy Medical Associates hopes to continue to add dates as staff and supplies are available. Stevenson said that those who want a test do not need a doctor’s prescription, they can visit coronatestct.com.

Murphy Medical and the town are also exploring the ability to provide antibody testing in Darien when it is available — it is unclear when that might happen.

As to how you know if you have recovered from the coronavirus, Stevenson said the patient must be symptom free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducers. Then you will be tested twice within 24 hours and both tests must come back negative.

More info: darienct.gov

Mental health series

The Town of Darien, along with DAF Media, the Darien Foundation, and Darien TV 79 have partnered to create a 14-part video series addressing all aspects of mental health. It is currently uploaded to Darien TV 79’s Vimeo site. Read more here.

Farmers’ Market

The planned opening for the Farmers Market is Wednesday, June 3, in the same location as in the past—Goodwives Shopping Center. More info to come, but the state has issued guidance that farmers markets are essential businesses and information on how they should operate. Read more here.

Virtual visiting

Many of Darien’s non-profit organizations are offering ways to participate virtually.

The Darien Historical Society is offering virtual tours and asking residents to contribute photos or videos to document the historical time of this pandemic. Read more here.

The Mather Homestead is offering a blog that details what historical treasures are found in its attic. Read more here.

The Darien Community Association is holding its annual plant sale online. Read more here.

The Darien Library offers many online resources on its website. Read more here.

The Darien Arts Center is offering online classes that can be taken virtually in drawing, music, and more. Read more here.

The Depot Youth Center is partnering with the Darien YMCA to offer virtual online yoga classes. Read more here.

Presidential primary

The primary has been postponed again to August. Read an announcement from the registrar here.

Closed/businesses

The community gardens at Cherry Lawn park are open, but the park is closed to vehicular traffic. Residents must bring their own tools and not share tools. Read more about the gardens here.

Wee Burn Country Club, Woodway Country Club and the Country Club of Darien have just announced their closure through the extended date issued by Gov. Ned Lamont of May 20 for-non essential businesses. Wee Burn is currently offering some curbside dining pick up for members.

Town Hall remains closed to walk-in traffic. Paddle tennis courts at Weed Beach and the tennis courts and Cherry Lawn and Weed Beach are closed until further notice. All park picnic areas in town are now closed.

Darien High School is closed to vehicular traffic but residents may traverse it to get from point A to point B. Read all the details of the current open and closed information here.

Darien Police have reminded those using the roads for walking and biking along with vehicles as open spaces are closed of the laws that govern each. Read more here.

Darien’s Public Works department recently canceled the spring bulk pickup program and offers online dump permit services. Read more here.

Though other towns have canceled their Memorial Day parades, Darien’s committee has not yet made a final decision. Read more here.

Here’s our ongoing list of what is closed and what has been canceled.

The Darien Chamber of Commerce is offering a special coronavirus update section on town businesses. Visit the section here.

One Darien High grad spoke about her challenges working in a grocery store in an opinion piece exclusive to The Darien Times. Read it here.

This info is provided by the business owner and is descriptive. It is open to all merchants in town —retail shops, food related, fitness boutiques, B2B. It is available to non-members and non-members as a service to the Darien community. If someone would like to be listed, email Susan Cator at susan@darienctchamber.com with a Business Covid-19 Update Section and she will contact you on how to be listed.

GoFundMe campaigns have been established for employees of the Sugar Bowl and Neat. Read more here. A GoFundMe has also been created for the bartenders of Chéz Ernie’s. Read more here.

Remember to shop local — now more than ever.

Giving back

Corbin Cares was launched as a combined effort of several Darien non-profits and businesses to donate meals to medical front lines, seniors and food insecure families in Darien. Total meals delivered in its fourth week numbered 1,117, with a total meals to date of 4,431. Read more about Corbin Cares here.

The Darien Times recently partnered with Darien artist Nobu Miki, who created a painting to inspire hope during these difficult times. She is auctioning that painting along with dozens more with the auction ending Sunday at 11 p.m. Find out how to bid here.

Corbin Cares is also sponsoring a virtual concert by Darien native Doug Allen, now living in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday night, to benefit the Jesse Lewis Choose Movement. Find out more here.

The Community Fund of Darien continues to seek donations for their Touch-a-Life emergency fund — that helps those in critical situations. Some examples provided are a single mother who works as a hairdresser in Stamford that is now closed, a single parent who works for a restaurant that is closed, a cleaning person for a building that is closed, and families with children who rely on the schools for lunches. Darien Human Services is also working with this fund. Donate here. Please indicate if your donation is for Darien Human Services.

Darien Human Services is seeking to remind the town they are still there for the community. They also suggest residents donate gift cards from local retailers. Read more here.

Please call the office at 203-656-7328 or email Ali Ramsteck at aramsteck@darienct.gov.

Person-to-Person is now offering home delivery to those unable to shop for their own groceries. More here. Food and monetary donations are also needed. Find out more here: https://p2phelps.org/donate/

Seniors also have specific shopping hours and resources. If you need meals, reach out to Darien Human Services above. Read more about senior resources here. Some seniors still are finding ways to connect. Read more about that here.

Resources:

Murphy Medical Associationscoronatestct.com

Town of Dariendarienct.gov

Center for Disease Controlcdc.gov/coronavirus

State health departmentportal.ct.gov/DPH

Keep up with town meetings on Darien TV 79’s Vimeo channel here.