Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending September 30

This week Gov. Ned Lamont surprised a lot of people by announcing that the state was moving to Phase Three of reopening, which will ease restrictions on businesses and increase indoor capacity limits for restaurants, barber shops, libraries and more.

The reason this is surprising is that Connecticut is not doing great when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 right now.

We endured another difficult week from Sept. 23 to Sept. 30. The total number of cases recorded rose slightly from 1,199 to 1,235, but the number of hospitalizations rose sharply from 74 to 104. And, perhaps most worryingly, there is a rise in cases in eastern Connecticut that defies easy explanation.

• Read more about new cases in Norwich and New London & Ledyard

Gov. Lamont has by and large been cautious and smart when it comes to handling the virus. He has resisted calls to open up the state too early. In fact, he initially postponed Phase Three back in July, when the situation was actually a lot better than it is now.

The governor has wisely decided not to open nightclubs and bars at this time, but his decision to increase capacity for other businesses and services is still puzzling. Connecticut is already struggling through its most difficult stretch since the spring when it comes to the coronavirus, and there’s every chance that Phase Three could make things worse.

Let’s take a look at the map.

The good news is that Danbury, which had been a hotspot during late August and early September, has improved considerably. Two weeks ago, during the week of Sept. 9 through Sept. 16, Danbury had 131 cases. The case prevalence, or cases per 10,000 residents, was 15.46. This week Danbury had only 75 cases, and a case prevalence of 8.85. Infection rates remain low in western Connecticut outside the Danbury area.

The cluster of high prevalence numbers in the eastern part of the state is clearly visible on the map. Norwich had 89 cases, which is a state-high case prevalence of 22.74 cases per 10,000 residents. Nearby towns Preston, New London, Franklin, Salem, Colchester, and Windham all had case prevalence numbers over 10.

Hopefully we’ll find out more about the troubling numbers from eastern Connecticut soon. But the governor may want to press pause on Phase Three again.

Here’s the previous week’s map for comparison:

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending September 23

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.