Masks again required at Darien Town Hall as COVID numbers rise

A snowy Town Hall on Sunday, Dec. 1 in Darien.

A snowy Town Hall on Sunday, Dec. 1 in Darien.

Diane Farrell

DARIEN — Officials have brought back a universal requirement to wear a mask in public areas of Town Hall, pointing to an increase in COVID-19 cases among residents.

The requirement — which applies to all visitors, even those who are vaccinated — goes into effect Wednesday. Employees also will have masks on when they are in public areas, according to the town’s website.

During the month of November, fully vaccinated visitors could go maskless inside Town Hall. But a tweet Monday night from the town’s official account said that COVID-19 cases have been rising in Darien, prompting the return of the mask requirement for everyone.

On Monday, 29 positive results were reported from tests over the past five days — which “is a big number” for Darien, said the town’s health director, David Knauf.

“Our numbers were really good, and then all of a sudden, they've shot up since Halloween,” Knauf said. “And that particular day, (Monday’s) report, was a little troublesome.”

Knauf added that he wasn’t aware of any cases in Town Hall, but officials would rather “be safe than sorry.”

Nearly 87 percent of Darien’s population, with all ages included, had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Nov. 24, according to the state’s data website. Knauf said that many of the recent positive cases in town are in children who haven’t been vaccinated. Others are breakthrough cases.

Two vaccine clinics for children between 5 and 11 years old took place at Town Hall in November. The town’s health department is also holding booster clinics at Town Hall on Tuesdays.

Knauf urged residents to be careful about social gatherings, like holiday dinners, parties and kids’ sleepovers.

“That's where we're seeing a lot of transmission occurring,” he said.

He noted, however, that while cases are on the rise, hospitalizations are not.

“What we're seeing is we have a very conscientious population in Darien, where people are getting tested if they feel like they have cold symptoms” or they’re planning to travel, he said. “So this is not a situation where we are seeing serious illnesses that are resulting in hospitalizations.”