Monroe has its first confirmed COVID-19 case, Kellogg declares local emergency

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MONROE, Conn. — News of people coming down with COVID-19 hit home Sunday, when someone over 60-years-old became the first Monroe resident to be diagnosed with the disease. First Selectman Ken Kellogg declared a local emergency and issued a CodeRed to inform townspeople of the bad news.

“While this is certainly concerning, it is not unexpected, and we should anticipate more confirmed cases in the coming days,” he said.

Kellogg said he does not have information on the severity of the Monroe case to know whether the person is hospitalized or in quarantine at home. “We certainly hope this individual makes a full recovery,” he said.

Connecticut now has 327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 208 in Fairfield County.

Kellogg said the local emergency declaration is consistent with what mayors and first selectmen from other towns with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases have done.

“It simply allows the town under state statutes to take any appropriate actions to respond to the pandemic,” he explained.

No budget referendum

To avoid fiscal chaos during the pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order requiring town budgets to be passed without a referendum vote. Monroe’s referendum was scheduled to be held on May 5.

On Sunday, Kellogg spoke to the leadership on the Town Council and the Board of Finance about the order.

The first selectman told The Sun the town has no choice, but to approve the budget without voters going to the polls.

“We will be getting more information out there,” he said. “There will be ample time for the public to offer input.” Of the process for approval, Kellogg added, “we will get more details this week. We’ll have more information, including how the public can have input on the budget itself.”

Kellogg said the governor’s executive orders carry the intent of increasing social distancing. Among other updates he posted on the town website:

• The Governor’s orders will also require certain local businesses to temporarily close their doors by 8 p.m. Monday, unless they are in a category deemed essential by the state. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurant take-out and delivery are among the many businesses that are allowed to remain open. The state will be releasing additional details later tonight.

• Routine public access to Town Hall and the Senior Center is closed, however you may call for information or to obtain services remotely.

• While the Library is now closed, you can check the website for online services.

• Monroe’s public parks and trails are available for open recreation for those practicing social distancing, however the basketball courts and playgrounds are closed to prevent large gatherings.

“We will continue to provide major updates via CodeRED, and frequent updates will continue to be posted on our website, social media, and through email to our ‘News and Announcements’ mailing list, which you can sign up for by going to the ‘Important Links’ section on the Town’s website,” Kellogg wrote.

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