Darien sees 'encouraging pattern' of COVID cases dropping, over half of residents vaccinated

Connecticut Health Centers employees help Darien High School students get vaccinated at The Darien student clinic in a collaboration with the CHC Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Lord & Taylor in Stamford, Conn.

Connecticut Health Centers employees help Darien High School students get vaccinated at The Darien student clinic in a collaboration with the CHC Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Lord & Taylor in Stamford, Conn.

Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

DARIEN — The town continues to move toward recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, with cases dropping and nearly 60 percent of eligible Darien residents vaccinated, according to town leaders.

On Friday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley sent out a notice to school families that the district was experiencing a “sharp decline” in the cases seen in the schools.

“This week we enjoyed a full seven days without a new case of COVID affecting our school community. Our last reported case was April 28,” Addley said.

The “encouraging pattern” has allowed the district to expand spectators at games and have audience participation at outside musical events.

“It has also allowed principals to expand end-of-year celebrations for our deserving students,” he said.

After recently announcing that the district was eliminating the need for fully vaccinated students to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure, Addley announced further quarantining changes.

As of Friday, the district is reducing the time of post-exposure quarantine from 10 days to seven days, with a negative test on day five or later, for the purposes of school attendance.

The quarantine period for high school athletes has also been reduced from 14 days to 10 days, with a negative test on day eight or later.

Addley said in order for any student to return to school on post-exposure day eight, they must remain symptom free for the full seven-day quarantine period, monitor for symptoms for a full 14 days, and submit proof of a negative molecular test collected on post-exposure day five, or later, to their respective school nurse.

In order for a student athlete to return to athletics on post-exposure day 11, the student must remain symptom free for the full 10-day post-exposure period, monitor for symptoms for a full 14 days, and submit proof of a negative molecular test collected on post-exposure day eight or later to the athletic trainer.

Addley said if the student athlete presented a negative test for return to school on post-exposure day eight, the student must submit an additional negative test, taken on post-exposure day eight or later, in order to return to athletics on post-exposure day 11.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, in her weekly update, reported that only five new cases have been reported in the two-week period since April 22.

She said Darien’s two-week positivity rate has declined to 0.66 percent and zero positive cases were reported last week.

Additionally, there have been a total of 1,507 cases from 952 unique households. Stevenson said nearly 60 percent of Darien’s population has received the vaccine.

“Given the significant number of residents currently below the age of eligibility, vaccine adoption is very strong,” Stevenson said.

Darien High students who received their first vaccine on May 1 will receive their second dose on May 22.

The CDC may rule as early as May 12 on expanding use of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, she said. Darien’s Health Department is working with Community Health Center and Walgreens to ensure Pfizer vaccine will be available for Darien children in that eligibility area.

Darien vaccine clinics offer Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines only. Town of Darien clinics operate on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can be made but are no longer necessary.

Vaccine providers can be found at www.CovidVaccineFinder.ct.gov or by calling 877-918-2224. Local vaccine providers include Grieb’s Pharmacy, Walgreens, Stamford Hospital, Yale New Haven Health, Community Health Center, CVS and certain Stop & Shop Pharmacies.