Darien Officials Recommend COVID Testing as CT Readies to Reopen

Six months ago, no one had ever heard of “Coronavirus” or COVID-19. Today, our world has been completely changed because of this invisible virus that has impacted every aspect of our lives. Since this is a new virus, there is no medication available at this time to treat the illness and no vaccine to prevent it.

The only available preventative measure available to limit the spread of illness is to minimize interpersonal contact so the virus cannot spread. Quarantines and isolation protocols have resulted in a virtual halt to all social and economic activities here in the United States.

As testing becomes more available, we learn more about this virus. This knowledge allows us to begin the process of safely restoring some form of “normalcy” to our lives. Governor Lamont’s ReOpen CT Advisory Committee has drafted a 4-phase plan to reopen businesses and activities. Reopenings will require new behaviors including physical distancing in shops, restaurants, offices and in public settings, wearing masks when distancing can’t be maintained and diligent cleaning and disinfecting of work and public spaces, as well as more easily obtainable COVID testing. A critical component of resuming activities is to ensure that we are not COVID-19 positive and capable of spreading illness without knowing it.

To address this concern, the Town of Darien has made testing available at a drive-through clinic located at the Darien High School. Testing was initially recommended for only those who had virus symptoms. We are now urging all Darien residents to be tested. To make an appointment, please visit www.coronatestct.com.

The governor has also announced that testing will be available soon at pharmacies and details on that are forth-coming. It is very important to realize that this virus travels in two major ways: by touching something with virus particles on it and by breathing in the virus.

How do you best protect yourselves? It’s easy —wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when washing isn’t available, don’t touch your face and wear a face covering whenever in public and physical distancing cannot be maintained. To protect our community, please stay home if you are sick. As the weather improves, we will want to spend more time outside. Virus concentration is reduced in open areas as long as people do not congregate in groups.

Social or physical distancing is a critical feature of our “new” lifestyle to protect ourselves and others. Face coverings need only be worn whenever social distancing (remaining a distance of at least six (6) feet from others) cannot be achieved.

You do not need to wear a mask when you are in your car or in an open areas appropriately distanced from non-family members. This virus has been found to pose significant health risks to those with underling health conditions and the elderly.

According to the CDC, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

• 65 years and older

• Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:

• Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

• Serious heart conditions

• Immunocompromised by disease or medication  Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

• Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)

• Diabetes - Type 1, Type 2 and gestational

• Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

• Liver disease

Details on underlying medical conditions may be viewed at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html

NOTE: The Town of Darien, in cooperation with Murphy Medical Associates, offers a COVID19 drive through test clinic at the Darien High School, currently open on Mondays and Fridays.

You must be prescreened for an appointment for testing by visiting: www.coronatestct.com

Jayme Stevenson, First Selectman

David Knauf, Director of Health