Town officials confirmed Monroe’s first COVID-19 death on their own

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MONROE, CT — First Selectman Ken Kellogg says the town has yet to receive official word about Monroe’s first death from COVID-19 from the state of Connecticut, though officials were able to confirm it on their own.

It is an example of how municipal leaders sometimes struggle to get timely information on the current numbers of infections and deaths from the disease.

“It’s frustrating, because we want to get good information out there, and get it out as timely as possible, but it’s not always straight forward information,” Kellogg said Saturday. “I’ve heard from other elected officials in other towns, and our heath director heard from other health directors, that it’s a common issue we’re facing.”

However, he does not lay all of the blame on the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

“It’s not always on the state,” Kellogg said. “Some testing centers are reporting results fairly quickly. But I heard some are getting test results back within 10 days, though that is improving.”

The first selectman said town officials get information on the number of COVID-19 cases from the state daily, but then pore over data to ensure everything matches up, before Kellogg posts it on the town website later in the day.

On Saturday morning, Kellogg announced the death of a Monroe man in his 70s.

“We extend our deepest condolences to his family,” he said. “It is heartbreaking that we have joined our neighboring towns in experiencing the loss of a resident from this disease. We must continue to work together to slow its progression.”

Though Kellogg does not have information on when the man died, he said he assumes it was within the last 48 hours.

According to the latest statistics, Connecticut has a total of 10,538 positive cases of COVID-19, Fairfield County has 5,180 and Monroe has 34. Of Monroe’s positive cases, 10 are people in their 60s, eight in their 50s, five in their 40s, four in their 30s, four in their 20s and three are in their 70s.

Monroe has taken part in the social distancing measures practiced in the state, as many businesses have temporarily closed and schools continue with distance learning.

Kellogg said it will be a different environment when different treatments are identified and vaccines are approved, adding, “but right now, the strongest tool in our toolbox is social distancing and good hygiene.”

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