Trick-or-treating not a good idea, Darien first selectman says

The Darien Community Association will host a Halloween Nauture Stroll Friday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m.-noon, at the DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail, 274 Middlesex Rd.

The Darien Community Association will host a Halloween Nauture Stroll Friday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m.-noon, at the DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail, 274 Middlesex Rd.

Darien Arts Association

DARIEN — First Selectman Jayme Stevenson has joined the list of municipal leaders recommending children should not trick-or-treat on Halloween.

In a message to residents on Monday, Stevenson also warned that “parties and social gatherings are not a safe substitute” for trick-or-treating.

Stevenson said contact tracing has revealed viral spread has been mostly occurring through private social gatherings, carpooling and youth sports.

“While youth sports as well as indoor and outdoor gatherings are allowed under the Governor’s Sector Rules, mask wearing and distancing are a best practice,” Stevenson said. “We are confident at this time that spread is not occurring in our schools.”

Stevenson said the town’s contact tracing does not seem to reveal spread is happening in schools. She said it points more toward small gatherings, youth sports and possibly carpooling.

However, two more cases were reported Monday at Darien High. The two people had been quarantined for being close contacts to previous cases at the school, officials said.

According to an email to families from head of nursing Alicia Casucci and Schools Superintendent Alan Addley, the last day both individuals were at Darien High School was Oct. 16.

The affected individuals have been instructed to remain home in self-isolation for 10 days and have been provided with additional instructions to follow prior to returning to school. Family members have also been instructed to self-quarantine and get tested.

Last week, Darien High School temporarily closed on Thursday as contact tracing was conducted after two other cases were reported there. The school reopened on Friday.

According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are six active cases associated with the schools and 55 people who are quarantined.

A member of the Holmes School community also tested positive last week, and Principal Paula Bleakley told families she was quarantining because she had been in contact with the infected person.

Stevenson said there were 14 positive cases reported in Darien between Oct. 12 and Oct. 26. The town’s rolling 14-day average is 4.59 cases per 100,000 residents, just shy of the threshold for the state’s yellow alert, which is for municipalities with 5 cases per 100,000 residents.

Three Fairfield County municipalities — Norwalk, Fairfield and Danbury — have been deemed red-alert communities with 15 or more cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. Wilton and Stamford are each in the yellow level.

Recent Darien cases have been evenly spread over the age spectrum with six of the 14 between the ages of 40-59.

Norwalk was deemed a “red alert” community by the state Department of Health last week with more than 200 cases confirmed last week alone. From Oct. 15 to Oct. 21, Norwalk’s daily cases per 100,000 population was 38.2. From Oct. 8 to Oct. 21, the daily cases per 100,000 population was 30.2.

Under state guidelines, communities that reach “red zone” status can revert to Phase 2 of reopening. However, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said the city would not be reverting back as contact tracing showed small social gatherings — not Phase 3 — has been the cause for the spike.

Rilling is in quarantine due to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, city spokesman Josh Morgan confirmed Sunday. Rilling entered quarantine Oct. 16 after being in contact with family who later tested positive for the coronavirus, Morgan added.

The mayor has since tested negative twice, Morgan said, but “will continue to quarantine in accordance to public health guidelines.”

Like Darien, Norwalk and Stamford officials are also recommending for children not to participate in traditional trick-or-treating.

In Darien, the Mather Homestead, 19 Stephen Mather Road, is offering a drive-thru trick-or-treating event Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. The Darien Community Association, 274 Middlesex Road, is offering a Halloween nature walk for parents and toddlers/preschoolers on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

A complete list of COVID-19 symptoms are available on the CDC website. Drive-thru testing is available in Darien through Murphy Medical Associates.