Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending August 19

It can be stressful to track COVID-19 numbers day in and day out. I do this, and maybe you do, too. Sometimes the numbers come in worse. Sometimes they’re better. Sometimes the test positivity is really low, sometimes it’s less so. After the year we’ve had, it’s tempting to see the potential for another spike in every upward fluctuation.

I’m guilty of this, myself! In the moment, it’s hard to see the bigger pattern. When numbers started going very slowly up in July it felt like we were just about to face another wave of infections spreading across Connecticut. Thankfully, due in large part to widespread testing and contact tracing, that didn’t happen.

That doesn’t mean the potential is gone, and it definitely doesn’t mean we should stop wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.

But maybe we can ratchet the anxiety back just a little bit. Just for now.

Let’s take a look at the map.

Connecticut is still in pretty good shape, especially compared with the rest of the country. All but eight towns have a prevalence level lower than five new cases per 10,000 people for the past week. Sixty-one towns have had no cases in the past week.

That is definitely worse than last week. But it’s better than two weeks ago. That’s been the trend: up and down, better and worse, back and forth.

This week there are a few clusters of high prevalence in eastern Connecticut, one of which is in Mansfield. This specific instance is the result of COVID-19 cases on UConn’s campus as the state’s flagship university tries to reopen. It’s possible there are still some lingering effects in other eastern Connecticut towns from parties a few weeks ago. High prevalence in Franklin and Hampton are the result of two and three cases, respectively, in two towns with very small populations.

In the rest of the state, there are more cases per 10,000 people in Fairfield County and New Haven County than there were last week. Hartford County, on the other hand, seems to be doing a bit better.

Generally, the map is worse. But because we’ve been in this pattern of ups and downs for so long, we shouldn’t read too much into that.

There are still no signs of uncontrolled outbreaks, and the number of people who have been hospitalized because of the virus remains low. So what we’re doing is working, and that’s a big deal. As we cautiously reopen schools, we should do everything we can to keep this particular status quo as long as we can.

And for now, we can accept that fluctuations in the number of positive tests aren’t necessarily a harbinger of much worse to come.

Here is last week’s map for comparison.

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending August 12

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of or any of the author's other employers.