Flare-up in COVID-19 cases traced to young partygoers
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A flare-up of coronavirus cases in Greenwich is being partly blamed on a series of parties involving young people, whose families are not cooperating with efforts to conduct contact tracing, local officials said.
There were 41 new cases of from July 19-25. Barbara Heins, an aide to Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, told the Hartford Courant that half of those were individuals aged 10 to 19, mostly teens who attended many of the same parties.
“Many of the individuals they are contacting, including the young people and their families, they are not cooperating,” Heins said.
A Connecticut Department of Public Health spokesman said the agency was aware of the situation in Greenwich and was working with local contact tracers to track how far the virus has spread.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, whose private home is in Greenwich, has warned about the pitfalls of young people not social distancing. Several days ago, he and Acting Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford issued a public statement expressing concern about coronavirus cases among teens and young adults in Connecticut. Statistics from Connecticut and elsewhere show that 18- to 29-year-olds represent substantial numbers of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.
Nearly half of all Connecticut residents who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 from July 19 to 25 were under age 30, according to state data.
“I know how frustrating this is for young people because you’ve been sort of quarantined for the last four or five months, and that’s not really the best place to be when you’re 17 years of age,” Lamont said Tuesday. “I’ve got to ask you to be very careful a little bit longer.”
Camillo has said his office has been receiving more complaints about residents, especially younger people, having large gatherings, picnics, cookouts and swim parties without adhering to social distancing or wearing face masks. He said in his message, “You may be with friends and family but you don’t know who they all have had contact with.”
In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:
An online portal has been launched to help Connecticut residents who need housing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said the website came about after a call center that opened on July 15 was swamped with calls, resulting in busy signals and long wait times for callers.
“Callers must answer a series of questions on eligibility, so each call takes several minutes,” she said in a written statement. “We realized pretty quickly that we were going to need another option, and adding a web portal was best the solution.”
Connecticut is offering two new programs that provide rental assistance and mortgage assistance for those struggling to pay their housing costs due to a job loss, a reduction of work, a furlough or the closing of a business because of COVID-19.
Details on the two programs and eligibility can be found by visiting the Department of Housing website for renters and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority website for homeowners. Applicants can submit questionnaires online to determine if they’re eligible, as well as contact the call center at 1-860-785-3111, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Both programs have been funded with $10 million each to help people struggling with housing costs. Officials said they’re designed to help people remain in their homes as rent extensions, eviction moratoriums and other relief measures are scheduled to end soon.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.