State officials in recent days reported the deaths of three more New Canaanites with coronavirus disease, new data show, and the town is seeing a sharp rise in confirmed COVID-19 virus cases.
The town’s cumulative total of 845 cases reported Monday is up 27 from Friday’s report by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The DPH also is reporting 39 deaths for New Canaan in its most recent COVID-19 data tracker, up from 36 one week ago.
Municipal officials said last week that most new cases are young adults and middle-aged parents infected through small gatherings over the holidays.
A recent rise in cases among New Canaan High School students prompted district officials this week to pull back for now on the number of students attending in-person at the Farm Road school at one time.
During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said the decision to keep NCHS in a model where just 50% of the student body is attending school in-person at one time “is helpful in an environment where we have spread, and we are in that environment today.”
“We know that the numbers are not great,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held with some attendees in the Wagner Room at NCHS and some participating remotely.
“The trends have not been moving in the right direction. At the high school right now we have got around 30 known positive cases, the vast majority of those with students. So in that environment the 50-50 hybrid makes sense because it it helps us to—by reducing the density even more—strengthen the mitigation strategies that we have. It also helps keep students safe by reducing the likelihood that somebody is going to be a close contact of a positive case, and therefore have to quarantine. Nobody wants to quarantine, of course, but the bigger concern is always that folks are going to be near others that have the virus, and pick it up themselves.”
Luizzi noted that the district’s goal remains getting NCHS to the point where 75% of the student body is learning in-person.
“And so we are going to keep watching, looking at what’s happening and making decisions along the way,” he said. “I am grateful for everyone who flexibly understood the rationale behind the move that was communicated [Sunday]. We want to keep looking forward and keep working hard to make things better. But we always are going to prioritize health and safety, and make our decisions based on that.
The age range of locals with COVID-19 whose deaths the state reported most recently, and the dates they died, were not immediately known. In his last town-wide outcall, on Jan. 5, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan noted that the first death of a New Canaan resident with COVID-19 (its 35th overall) since August had been a 79-year-old resident living at home.