Officials: Most of Darien’s COVID cases are breakthrough cases

File photo of a COVID-19 clinic at the Mather Community Center gymnasium.

File photo of a COVID-19 clinic at the Mather Community Center gymnasium.

Susan Shultz /Hearst Connecticut Media /

DARIEN — Despite most of Darien’s recent COVID-19 diagnoses being breakthrough cases, officials are optimistic the number of cases in town are trending in a good direction.

There were 86 cases this August and 37 in September as of Monday. Darien had more positive cases this August and September than compared to 2020, when there were 17 and 11 cases respectively, Health Director David Knaif recently told the Representative Town Meeting.

“The good news is it that it looks like we’re in a sort of decline in terms of number of cases since the middle of August,” he said. “Let’s hope that trend continues.”

He said they were concerned about how the higher number of cases going into the academic year would affect schools and those activities.

“So far, we’re not seeing any resulting increase in cases,” Knaif said. “That’s good news.”

Of the cases that happened between July 1 and Sept. 23, the highest number of cases was for the age groups 0 to 11, who aren’t eligible for the vaccine, and 40 to 49.

“It seems as though parents, in some cases, are bringing it home for the kids,” Knaif said, adding most of the cases are presenting as colds.

Knaif said they’ve interviewed most of the positive cases and, based on those interviews, determined most of the cases happening are among people who are fully vaccinated.

“None of these folks who are vaccinated are seriously ill and we really aren’t seeing hospitalizations in many months,” he said.

Most of the positive cases are also of the delta variant, which is more contagious.

He said the vaccine remains one of the best defenses against COVID and minimizing the severity and hospitalizations. More than 90 percent of Darien’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated and more than 97 percent of the eligible population is partially vaccinated.

More than 71 percent of the town’s entire population is vaccinated.

“It’s just a tremendous achievement in the community,” Knaif said.

Knaif added there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the COVID-19 booster shots.

Chief of these is that the vaccines are not transferable and only Pfizer has been approved for a booster. This means only those who received Pfizer as their original vaccine can get it. He said there’s still not information on when Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters will be available, but he expects they will be at some point.

“Pfizer is having a higher breakthrough rate than Moderna or Johnson & Johnson,” he said of Darien’s cases, adding it was about 2 to 1. “That might just be because Pfizer did a lot more vaccinating. I don’t really know that.”

Since the Darien Health Department only held Moderna clinics in the past, there won’t be any booster clinics through the department until that vaccine is approved as a booster.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends boosters for people who are 65 or older, people with underling medical conditions and people who are at a higher risk of exposure due to their job or institutional setting.