Six new COVID cases reported in Darien, five among teenagers
Darien has seen a mini-spike in COVID-19 cases this week, with six new cases reported as of Wednesday, according to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
Furthermore, five of those cases are in people between the ages of 10 and 19, an age range that had seen few instances of coronavirus prior to this week. The other reported case was in a person between the ages of 40 and 49.
The teenage outbreak could be linked to a trip a group of young people took together. Several clubs and organizations in Darien and the surrounding area have notified members and camper families that visitors or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. At least three clubs have indicated the positive cases are tied to a recent trip taken by young people from Darien.
Stevenson would not confirm that the teenagers who tested positive had traveled together, citing privacy laws that she said prevent the town from providing specific information about individuals who test positive.
But in a ‘Code Red’ email blast, she warned about young people relaxing precautions that have helped the state reduce transmission of the virus.
“Here in Connecticut, we are seeing a change in the demographic of positive cases as younger people, teenagers and twenty-somethings, are now testing positive in larger numbers than in the past. Gathering and vacationing with friend groups is problematic,” she wrote. “Everyone needs to do their part to prevent the resurgence of COVID in our community. We must not let our guard down as we continue our attempt to reopen Connecticut or it is very likely that the progress we’ve made will be reversed.”
Cases and warnings
Other than the last week of June, when eight new cases were reported in Darien, the town has maintained a relatively low rate of infection. The town reported 13 new cases in May, and five new cases from June 1 through June 25.
Through this week, the under-19 cohort showed few positive cases. There have been four total cases under the age of 9 and, before this week, there were 15 cases from ages 10 to 19. Darien’s largest demographic to test positive for the virus has been the 40 to 59 group. Going into this week, Darien’s total number of cases throughout the pandemic was 218.
Several local clubs sent out warnings to members about this week’s spike. Some spoke of a trip taken by a group of young people, including the individuals who subsequently tested positive. There has been no indication that the alleged trip was a sponsored activity by any club.
David Knauf, the town’s director of health, warned against “pointing fingers” at one group or one incident.
This week’s new cases could just as easily have come from a graduation party or any other gathering common to summer in which people relaxed precautions, he said.
“We might learn something from this. No age group is immune. They can all get sick from it or carry it back to a more susceptible community or family member that could result in serious illness or even death,” he said. “It’s the behavior in general. People who refuse to wear masks because they think their personal rights are being infringed upon — they are infringing on the rights of the people who want to be healthy.
“This is a big picture thing,” he said.
In addition to wearing a mask and social distancing, it is critical that people follow quarantining guidelines if visiting states on the quarantine list, he said.
“Even if you don’t have symptoms — those states have a lot of illnesses right now and we don’t want that to happen again here,” he said.
In her Code Red to the town, Stevenson added, “We can’t stress enough how important it is for our children of all ages to follow this guidance as it will protect them and everyone around them, particularly those who are medically vulnerable, their parents and grandparents.”
“Wearing a mask makes your potential exposure negligible,” Knauf said.
Darien offers coronavirus testing on Mondays and Fridays in the Leroy West parking lot. Anyone can register for an appointment at coronatestct.com.
For more information on Darien’s COVID-19 response and data, visit the COVID-19 tab on darienct.gov.