STONINGTON — Despite a small decrease in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across southeastern Connecticut, the number of local cases is still on the rise and officials are urging continued caution and social distancing.
In a message to residents, First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said the town's confirmed and suspected cases have risen again over the pat two weeks, with 182 new cases reported between Jan. 3 and Jan. 16.
"While our region is seeing a small decrease in overall cases, Stonington’s number of cases continue to increase," Chesebrough said in the message, which was posted to social media and the town's website. "Please know, we understand the importance of social interactions, but ask everyone to do all they can to help limit the spread. Wearing a mask, social distancing and limiting face-to-face contact will all help us stop the spread."
According to the Ledge Light Health District, there were a total of 790 cases reported in the district's nine communities from Jan. 10-16. The number represented a decline from 869 cases the week before, but remained the second-highest number of confirmed and suspected cases reported in the district during a single week since the pandemic began.
In Stonington, health district data showed 96 new cases for the week ending Jan. 9 and an additional 86 cases during the week ending Jan. 16. Since March 2020, there have been a total of 727 COVID-19 cases and 19 related deaths in Stonington.
Over the same two-week period, there were 30 confirmed and suspected cases reported in North Stonington. The town has had 176 reported cases of COVID-19 and three related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Stonington schools, which continue to operate using a hybrid learning model to enhance social distancing, have seen a drop in the number of reported cases over the past couple weeks. Superintendent of Schools Van Riley said Monday that in the past week, the district had received notice of six cases including three at the Deans Mill School, one at West Vine Street School and two at Stonington High School.
“In all cases, no contact tracing was required as the individuals were already quarantining and/or had remained home from school,” Riley said in a letter to parents.
The district reported 4 cases the previous week, down dramatically from 20 during the first week after holiday break. Students were engaged in distance learning that week, which dramatically reduced the risk of contact exposure in the school community.
With the ongoing pandemic causing stressors for residents and business owners across the community, Chesebrough urged those in need to utilize various local resources for assistance.
“Your mental health matters,” she said in her message to residents. “Residents are able to access individual and family counseling services at no cost.”
A detailed list of available services and contact information is available through the town’s website at https://www.stonington-ct.gov/selectmens-office/news/health-and-community-support.