CHESHIRE—On Wednesday, Chesprocott Health District director Maura Esposito said contact tracing will be “the hot news topic” during the next two weeks.
Chesprocott Health District covers the towns of Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott.
“The directors of all the health districts in the state were on a Zoom meeting today with officials at the Connecticut Department of Public Health,” Esposito said. “The conversation was about contact tracing and when we are going to get it done.
“Starting on Friday, the state health department is going to go over some tracing initiatives to formalize contact tracing statewide. The focus will be statewide so we are all on the same page.”
Heading into Wednesday, Esposito said Cheshire had 90 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Wolcott had 77 and Prospect had 32. There are six COVID-19-related fatalities in Cheshire and 11 in the three towns combined.
Esposito said that contact tracing is the next big step in mitigating the COVID-19 virus.
“When we identify someone with COVID-19, by doing contact tracing it will put together larger information and tell us who is at risk,” Esposito said. “We are really trying to identify people who have had contact with the disease who need to be quarantined, and then get them quarantined.
“People are out there who are asymptomatic. We need to find them and contact them.”
Esposito said Chesprocott Health District also received another shipment of PPE (personal protective equipment) on Tuesday. The PPE is being distributed to health providers who work with the vulnerable population at places like local nursing homes, group homes and elderly housing.
The Chesprocott Health District office continues to get calls with questions from residents who are urged to contact the facility any time they have a question. The phones rang a little more than usual on Tuesday.
“When Gov. Lamont said it was mandatory to wear masks in public, we started getting a lot of calls on Tuesday,” Esposito said. “It seems whenever the governor makes an announcement, we get an increase of calls from residents.
“People have a lot of questions about masks. But when it comes to getting everyone to wear masks, it’s been a real challenge because a lot of people out there are not wearing masks. People call us because they see people aren’t wearing masks. But it’s not something we (Chesprocott) can enforce. It’s law enforcement’s responsibility to enforce.”
Esposito said Chesprocott has also been fielding calls regarding concerns and complaints from residents about local establishments not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
“For the most part establishments are adhering to guidelines,” Esposito said. “I think what this represents is simply a heightened alert among our residents, that they are taking the guidleines and social distancing seriously. And that’s a good thing.”
One area of concern for Esposito is Elim Park.
“We are trying to control an increase in cases at Elim Park on the nursing home side,” Esposito said.
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter at the New Haven Register for 36 years.