Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending August 26

Outbreaks in Danbury and East Windsor, coupled with a mild rise in COVID-19 cases in some other cities and towns, have made for one of the worst weeks Connecticut has endured since early summer.

The outbreak in Danbury, a city that already suffered high numbers of cases during the worst of the pandemic in April and May, has been the focus of state and local officials who are trying to keep it from spreading to other towns. So far international travel, parties on Lake Candlewood, power outages, and general “COVID fatigue” have been blamed for what officials are calling an “uptick” rather than a spike.

Danbury had 146 new cases in the past week, or 17.23 new cases per 10,000 residents.

In East Windsor, 31 migrant workers on a tobacco farm tested positive, pushing the town of 11,375 to a state-high 30.77 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants. Details are scarce, but the farm workers were apparently living close together in a dormitory.

Migrant farm workers are common in north central Connecticut, and many will work for several different farms during the tobacco harvesting season. Farms often provide housing and transportation for these workers. It’s unclear how many of the workers who tested positive were working at other farms in the region.

Neighboring Enfield, which also has a large number of tobacco farms that employ migrant workers, saw 38 new cases this past week. That only works out to 8.55 new cases per 10,000 residents, as Enfield has about four times the population of East Windsor. Still, this is higher than usual for Enfield, and was the fourth-highest prevalence number in the state behind East Windsor, Danbury, and Danbury’s neighbor, Brookfield (17 new cases, 9.99 new cases per 10,000). It’s unclear how many, if any, of these cases are related to the East Windsor outbreak.

The spread of the virus at parties and in close living quarters like a dormitory are made even more relevant by the impending opening of schools, colleges, and universities across the state.

Clearly the virus has not become any less dangerous. The public should take to heart the lessons from this hard week, and keep practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Most importantly, we can’t let “COVID fatigue” cause us to make bad decisions. We are all tired of living like this, but we must stick to our guns and do what is necessary until the danger is finally past.

Here is last week’s map for comparison.

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending August 19

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.