STONINGTON — There was a slight increase in the number of reported COVID-19 cases in both the town and across the Ledge Light Health District over the past two weeks, but officials said the number of cases remains stable as Connecticut moves closer to a May 19 reopening.
The latest data available through the Ledge Light Health District, which represents nine towns in southeastern Connecticut, including Stonington and North Stonington, reported 147 new cases for the two-week period ending May 1, a slight but relatively insignificant increase compared to the period ending on April 24.
There were 25 new confirmed or suspected cases in Stonington between April 18 and May 1, up from 22 cases for the two-week periods ending on April 17 and April 24. The town has maintained a "yellow" alert status and was able to maintain a case rate of 9.7 for the second consecutive week.
The rate is the lowest the community has had since May 2020.
"We are so happy to report a decrease in cases and increase in vaccines. We know this, combined with the state's plan to lift most COVID-related restrictions later in May, will mean more time spent out with friends and family," First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said late last week in a message to residents. "We ask all residents and visitors to please continue to remain diligent in taking COVID-19 precautions, particularly wearing a mask indoors and getting a vaccine if you are able."
Cases have also continued to decline in neighboring North Stonington, where state data indicates the daily rate of infection fell to 12.3 per 100,000, with only nine new cases diagnosed over the two-week period ending May 1.
With the reduction in rate, the community has see it's alert reduced from "red" to "orange." The town had previously spent three consecutive weeks with an average daily case rate of 15.0, the exact level at which a town's alert status is increased to "red."
Both towns have also seen success in getting residents vaccinated as well. State data shows that as of May 6, 57.3% of Connecticut residents had received at least one vaccination shot, with approximately 44.4% considered to be fully vaccinated.
Stonington remains higher than the state averages, with data showing that an estimated 59.3% of the community had received one shot and 50% were considered fully vaccinated. In North Stonington, just 47.8% of residents had received a vaccination shot and only 38.7% are fully vaccinated.
Nationwide, approximately 45.8% of Americans have received one vaccination shot and 34.4% are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Stephen Mansfield, director of health for the Ledge Light Health District, said in a press release that although the latest numbers continue to show stable rates and indicate a further decline, it remains imperative that area residents continue to follow social distancing protocols and consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
"Although the number of new cases remain relatively stable, our contact tracers continue to report clusters, especially those associated with social gatherings and sporting events," Mansfield said. "We are making great strides with our COVID vaccination program, but it is still imperative that we remain diligent in our mitigation strategies."