Health district confirms case of COVID-19 in Valley

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Elio Gugliotti, Editor

SEYMOUR — One person in the Naugatuck Valley has tested positive for COVID-19 and health officials presume another resident has, too.

The Naugatuck Valley Health District announced in a news release Tuesday that there is at least one laboratory confirmed positive case and a presumed positive case of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, among residents in the district’s jurisdiction. The Naugatuck Valley Health District, which is based in Seymour, is the health district for Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Seymour and Shelton.

“We expect that the number of confirmed cases will rise with the increased availability of commercial laboratory testing,” the release stated.

The health district did not provide details about the two residents, citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to protect the residents’ privacy.

“It is important to remember that during a public health emergency, such as a disease outbreak, the HIPAA privacy and security rules still apply and that the privacy of our residents must be protected to the extent possible,” the release stated.

Numbers released by state officials Tuesday showed the count of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased from 41 people a day earlier to 68 in four of the state’s eight counties.

There a 48 positive cases in Fairfield County, seven in Hartford County, five in Litchfield County, and eight in New Haven County.

Dr. Matthew L. Cartter, the state epidemiologist, spoke during a news briefing at the Executive Residence with Gov. Ned Lamont and other top state officials on the status of the coronavirus outbreak and the state response.

Cartter said 26 people have been hospitalized since the first positive COVID-19 case was reported two Saturdays ago. He said the actual number of people who have been infected is hundreds times more.

Cartter said public health officials estimate for every person who tests positive for influenza there are another 100 people who also catch the flu, but who do not get tested. He said it is likely the same for COVID-19.

“Right now, if we have 68 positives, you should assume there are at least 100 people out there who have COVID-19 for every single positive, which puts us around 6,000 or so, and that might be a low estimate,” Cartter said.

The Naugatuck Valley Health District advised residents who think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, to call their health care provider for medical advice. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to it and avoid close contact with people who are sick, the release stated.

People that have general questions related to COVID-19 can call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211.

Paul Hughes contributed to this article.

The full news release from the Naugatuck Valley Health District is below.

Naugatuck Valley COVID-19 Update

The Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD), like many other jurisdictions in Connecticut, has learned that there is at least one laboratory confirmed positive case and a presumed positive case of COVID-19 among residents in our jurisdiction. We expect that the number of confirmed cases will rise with the increased availability of commercial laboratory testing. Additionally, community spread/transmission is now occurring. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

No further details about the residents will be provided to protect their privacy. In the age of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPAA, no disease outbreak on this scale has ever been experienced. However, it is important to remember that during a public health emergency, such as a disease outbreak, the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules still apply and that the privacy of our residents must be protected to the extent possible.

How will I know if I came in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19?

  • Those who have come in contact with individuals who are positive with COVID-19 outside of a healthcare setting are referred to as “community contacts” and will be notified by the local health department for the town they reside in. Individuals will be advised to self-quarantine and monitor their symptoms.
  • Individuals who reside in the same household as a confirmed positive case will be required to self-quarantine with public health supervision performed by the local health department.
  • If an exposure occurs within a healthcare setting, that agency will take the lead on contacting and monitoring the individual(s) for the duration of their self-quarantine.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Please do not show up without calling first.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral medication to prevent or lessen the impact of this particular coronavirus so the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to it and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

It is extremely important to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. We understand this may be disruptive and difficult, and may even seem extreme but these are the strongest public health steps we can take as a community to slow the spread of this virus, protect the most at-risk members of our community from serious illness, and prevent our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.

Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Please call your medical provider before showing up.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Where can I find information about laboratory confirmed cases in CT?

At the state level, the latest COVID-19 testing data which can be accessed at www.ct.gov/coronavirus.

NVHD will also post aggregate testing data when it becomes available on our webpage www.nvhd.org/coronaviruses/COVID-19.

Where can I find additional information?

If you have any general questions related to COVID-19 after reviewing this information, you can call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211.  This hotline is available 24 hours a day and in multiple languages.

Additionally, Griffin Health is offering an information hotline at 203-204-1053 for patients, visitors, and community residents who have questions about COVID-19. Griffin caregivers will be available to answer questions Monday – Friday from 8:00AM – 5:00PM.

Online resources:

  • www.coronavirus.gov
  • www.ct.gov/coronavirus
  • www.nvhd.org/coronaviruses/COVID-19

For tips on taking care of your behavioral health and coping with stress and/or anxiety during an infectious disease outbreak, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Pages/Behavioral-Health or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html.

Naugatuck Valley Health District will continue to post updates and information on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIN).