Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Feb. 17, 2021

It’s been an awful few months, and optimism has been hard to come by. But maybe through political exhaustion and pandemic fatigue, you’ve noticed: the days are getting longer. There’s more sun in the morning, and those of us still commuting aren’t driving home in darkness. That’s what this week’s COVID-19 map feels like, to me: the promise, at last, of spring.

New cases of the coronavirus have fallen for the fifth week in a row, and that drop seems to be picking up steam. There are plenty of possible reasons why, as Derek Thompson explains in an article in the Atlantic, including the season, better social distancing and mask-wearing behavior, fewer potential hosts, and the vaccines.

The last item is likely having a very positive effect here. Connecticut’s vaccine program, despite some logistical issues and concerns about unequal distribution to communities of color, remains one of the best in the country when it comes to actually getting shots in arms.

There are tons of people putting in the effort to make the program a success so far, but I have to credit the quiet, competent leadership of Gov. Ned Lamont as a big factor. As Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-New York, faces harsh political backlash for his handling of nursing home deaths, and Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Massachusetts, stumbles amidst withering criticism of his vaccine plans, Lamont’s steady hand and success rate looks all the more remarkable. Hopefully that will continue as we enter the next phases of vaccination.

This week the number of new cases recorded by the state dropped from 8,492 to 5,860, a remarkable 31% drop. Statewide case prevalence, or the number of cases per 10,000 people, dropped from 23.77 to 16.40. Test positivity dropped from 3.4% to 2.5%, which means that the number of cases recorded is likely pretty accurate. All of this is welcome news. This puts us back to where we were in late October, which was when cases began multiplying at an alarming rate. Hopefully this means we’re finally past the worst.

Let’s take a look at the map.

Case prevalence continued to fall in towns all over the state. Most towns are now in the 10-20 or 5-10 cases per 10,000 range, a marked improvement. There are only five towns now with a case prevalence over 30: Clinton, Meriden, Montville, Suffield, and Union. For comparison purposes, during the week ending Jan. 13 there were only 13 towns with a case prevalence under 30; the rest of the state was mostly in the 40+ range.

Geographically, the Litchfield hills continue to be one of the safest spots in the state. Cases there have generally lagged the rest of Connecticut. But otherwise there isn’t a lot to note. One good trend; the pocket of higher case prevalence that was visible in eastern Connecticut along the I-395 corridor has essentially vanished. That region looks much more like the rest of the state now. 

There are several towns with zero new cases. One of these, Wethersfield, actually had about 100 cases removed from its total at some point during the past week, so it’s very hard to determine what’s going on there. Totals do tend to change as addresses are updated and verified and mistakes are corrected, so this is not an unusual occurrence. Wethersfield’s true numbers are probably close to its surrounding towns; this will be clearer next week.

In short, things are getting brighter. Hang on. We’re almost there.

Here’s last week’s map for comparison:

Case Prevalence Per 10,000, By Town

For the week ending Feb. 10, 2021

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 CTNewsJunkie.com.

Susan Bigelow

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