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Several towns flip from red to orange while most advance to COVID 'red alert' status

WTIC Hartford logo WTIC Hartford 11/30/2020 Matt Caron
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With COVID still spreading in the community and an anticipated post-Thanksgiving spike in the days ahead, it can be hard to find the silver lining. But some Connecticut communities are trending in the right direction.  151 of CT’s 169 communities have 15 or more COVID cases per 100,000 residents, but there are pockets of hope. In Northeastern CT for example, Ashford and Pomfret went from red back to orange.

"I think people are working very hard to keep one another safe," said Pomfret First Selectwoman Maureen Nicholson. Ashford First Selectwoman Catherine Silver-Smith added, "I can put it this way. We’re a very close bit community and people have been really looking out for each other." In these rural communities with not a lot of people, it doesn’t take much to change their color on the map. "One family having a diagnosis of several people could throw us into the red zone," said Silver-Smith.

Ashford and Pomfret aren’t necessarily doing things better or differently. It all comes down to the personal responsibility of residents. "Right now, we’re in pretty good shape," said Silver-Smith. "The residents are following CDC guidelines. They are masking, washing, and sanitizing. They are getting tested and quarantining when appropriate." And that includes the first selectwoman of Ashford herself. She’s quarantined due to exposure. "In the interest of caution to ensure that I don’t pass anything on to our town employees and interrupt our operations."

Both communities have their town halls closed to the public but are continuing to provide municipal services and digital meetings. Schools remain open. "Schools are doing very well. They’ve done a great job," said Silver-Smith. But some small businesses have closed. "They won’t be reopening. That’s a problem. I think that will be continuing like a domino effect over the next several months," said Nicholson.

But within the next several months there’s also a lot to look forward to. The distribution of vaccines that are up to 95% effective. A state committee currently working with district and local health departments to coordinate. "The issue is the logistics and the execution because you are going to have tremendous demand. Tremendous anxiety to the execution of this and I want to applaud the Governor for anticipating that and convening a vaccination task force," said State Sen. Tony Hwang, a member of the legislature biosciences caucus.

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