Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Sept. 9

Well, school is back in session. Some places have hybrid in-person and online classes, and some are entirely online. It’s tempting to look at those in-person classes as a sign of progress, but don’t be fooled. Connecticut may still be doing well enough at keeping case prevalence fairly low and at containing outbreaks, but the coronavirus is just as present among us as it’s been since the early summer.

In short, while we are doing a bit better now than we were two weeks ago, we shouldn’t expect this state of affairs to dramatically improve any time soon. This pandemic is a long haul.

This week’s map of case prevalence, or the number of new cases per 10,000 residents in each town, shows higher concentrations of cases in two places with large universities: Mansfield, where the University of Connecticut’s main campus is located, and New Britain/Newington, home to Central Connecticut State University. The situation at CCSU can largely be traced back to parties, according to New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. Other colleges and universities around the state have reported new cases, though none have yet seen spikes as severe as those at CCSU or UConn.

Higher prevalence numbers in some of Connecticut’s small towns, such as Kent and Bozrah, are caused by only a few cases for each town. Connecticut’s cities are stable or improving. New Haven now has a case prevalence under 2, and Danbury is back to where they were before suffering an outbreak in August. A late August outbreak in East Windsor also now seems to be contained.

There are fewer towns with zero cases this week than two weeks ago. However, apart from university towns, there are no spikes visible. The state’s contact tracing and testing efforts continue to help keep the disease from spreading unchecked. 

It will be several weeks before we have a good idea of whether the opening of school will contribute to outbreaks. The experiences of other states so far has not been encouraging.

Six months ago, on March 8, Gov. Ned Lamont announced our first case of COVID-19. Since then there have been 53,870 more cases and 4,474 people have died from the disease. More than half of those cases and deaths happened during the awful first two months of the crisis; the next four months have been kinder.

If we can keep our heads, keep our discipline, and not let ourselves be worn out so much that we make mistakes, we’ll do all right for the next six months. There’s talk of a potential new wave in the fall, and of the possibility of a vaccine before Election Day. I don’t know how likely either is, but by March 2021 I wouldn’t be too surprised if we’re still fighting this thing in one way or another.

It’s a long, weary road to be on. But right now, we’re doing as well as we can.

Here is the Aug. 26 map for comparison:

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Aug. 26

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.