COVID 19 Update: Coronavirus prevention sparks cancellations in Southington

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As the spread of the COVID-19 virus continues to stir health concerns in Connecticut, state and local officials continue to implement preventative measures to control the outbreak.

In a stream of emails and Facebook posts released throughout Thursday afternoon and evening, school districts across Connecticut announced they would close, many indefinitely, as a measure to try to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an order Thursday allowing districts to shorten the school year under the normal 180-day requirement, setting in motion a day of conference calls and internal meetings for school officials struggling to weigh the potentially massive impact of closing with the public health impacts of allowing students and staff to continue to gather and risk spreading the virus.

In Southington, schools will be closed starting Monday, March 16 and are expected to reopen on March 30. Non-essential activities such as extracurricular activities, athletics, PTO events, and clubs are canceled until further notice. The schools have also postponed any drama club productions through May. The CIAC has already suspended athletic contests, tournament activities, and athletic practices.

Visitor restrictions have already been enacted for Hartford HealthCare (HHC) facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals. HHC has been restricting visitation and reducing the number of entrances to its hospital facilities due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, no visitation is allowed at HHC skilled nursing facilities in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

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“Visitors are asked NOT to visit the hospital if they are ill or have symptoms of cold or flu,” officials say in a statement on the HHC website. “Only one visitor per patient is allowed at a time. Exceptions to this will be considered after screening for hospice, maternity, and ‘patient need’ cases at RN discretion. In addition, no visitation is allowed at HHC skilled nursing facilities in accordance with the newly released Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines. No visitors are allowed under the age of 16. No entrance allowed for anyone visiting our campuses for nonhospital-related services like dining.”

For more information and updates, visit www.hartfordhealthcare.org.

Symptoms of the virus include shortness of breath, a cough, fever and or body aches, said Dr. Justin Lundbye, chief medical officer at Waterbury Hospital. He said the health department issued directions for setting up the mobile screening site at hospitals Thursday and that Waterbury’s will be operational today.

The decision came as institutions from public schools to cultural venues began canceling events or shutting down facilities. Gov. Ned Lamont has banned gatherings of more than 250 people.

Lundbye said that the easily-transmitted virus is difficult to contain because it is becoming “community spread.” That means people are infected without having had known contact with a source.

It also means limiting testing to people who have traveled outside the United States is not as useful as it was when the outbreak began, Lundbye said.

“Coronavirus is very aggressive. You don’t need a lot of exposure to get sick,” he said.

For example, he said, “If I’m in a room and I cough and a tiny particle lands on a tablecloth and someone touches that tablecloth and then touches their eyes or nose or mouth, they acquire the virus.”

Here are some of the recent cancellations in Southington to help limit the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Saint Thomas Passion Play
  • All Hartford HealthCare Senior Services for the month of March
  • Southington YMCA annual campaign kick-off breakfast (postponed)
  • Southington YMCA Cycle-A-Thon (postponed)
  • Southington YMCA 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament (postponed)
  • YMCA Gymnastics Clinics and all child-care open house events (postponed)
  • Southington AND Cheshire YMCA Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
  • YMCA all child care field trips
  • Tw-Y-Light Zone at the YMCA
  • Fishing Derby at YMCA Camp Sloper
  • Southington High School junior prom (postponed)
  • All school concerts and drama productions (postponed)
  • Non-essential school events such as PTO meetings and activities after-school clubs and extracurricular activities
  • Southington Public Library’s “Southington Reads” event, St. Patty’s Day concert, and Probate Forum
  • United Way Annual Dinner (postponed to May 8)
  • Southington Calendar House closed March 18 to 30
  • Southington Library to close at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 and reopen Monday, March 30
  • Penny Lane Band concert at Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation (postponed)

This list will be updated as information is received. To have your organization included, email us at News@SouthingtonObserver.com.