Coronavirus may be in Connecticut. Town officials say not to panic

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MONROE, Conn. — A middle-aged Wilton resident became the first presumptive Connecticut resident to test positive for coronavirus and is being treated at Danbury Hospital. Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg asks residents not to panic, but to take routine precautions to avoid illness.

“We certainly expect that there will be cases in Connecticut, so this should not be a surprise,” Kellogg said Monday. “However, I want to encourage residents to practice the same precautionary measures they have been. We’re still in a planning, monitoring and preparedness mode.”

According to the latest numbers reported in the New York Times Monday, there are at least 539 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 22 people died from respiratory illness caused by the virus.

Police Capt. Keith White, who is also the town’s deputy emergency management director, shared common precautions to avoid illness, such as staying home if you are sick, washing your hands regularly and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

“There’s really no need to panic at the moment,” White said.

Both Kellogg and White direct residents to visit a page on the town’s website, monroect.org/COVID-19, which will be updated regularly with timely information on any town actions and links to information from both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

If the virus directly affects Monroe, White said, “we would follow the guidelines of CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.”

The terms quarantine and isolation have been mentioned in news coverage on the coronavirus. White said isolation involves a sick person, while a quarantine is a precautionary measure for someone who may have been exposed to the virus.

“I am having regular meetings with members or our Emergency Management Team, which includes our director of health and superintendent of schools,” Kellogg said of local preparedness for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

“The Monroe team has joined the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) in an enhanced monitoring mode,” Kellogg wrote in a message to residents. “We are maintaining ongoing communications with both state and federal agencies to ensure that appropriate local actions are taken, based upon current information and guidance.”

Acting Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza said, “we are working in conjunction with our local health director, the state Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Department of Education.”

To centralize information, Monroe public school’s website has a link to the town’s page for updates on the coronavirus.

“As always, we want to remind everyone to practice everyday, preventive actions,” Kellogg said. “Simple steps like regular hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze, and staying home when sick will help to limit the spread of disease.”

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