The Numbers: December 3

Fairfield County is either actively experiencing an outbreak or is at extreme risk.

Eight new confirmed cases today brought Weston’s total to 208 year-to-date. There were 32 new confirmed cases in Weston in the past two weeks.

In Fairfield County, improvement in average daily new cases, although still quite high. The infection rate is unchanged, but the percentage of tests coming back positive continues to rise. Hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase as well.

CoVid Act Now estimates that ICU headroom use in the county has soared to 83 percent, which “suggests hospitals cannot absorb a wave of new Covid infections without substantial surge capacity. Aggressive action urgently needed.”

Weston is classified a Connecticut Red Alert town. Only eight towns, all small, are not on the list.

In Weston

At the schools

December 3: A middle school staff member tested positive. At press time, contact tracing and notifications have begun.

The number of students and staff in quarantine had dropped from around 200 to 26. Today, with the middle school case, the number bounced back up to 100.

The fact that we have so much data from the school district reflects the district’s diligent reporting. It should not be taken to suggest that on-campus exposure is a significant source of community spread. It is not.

December 2: A 12th grade student tested positive. District officials say no students or staff were at risk of exposure within school.

December 1: An eighth grade student tested positive. The administration reports that no students or staff were at risk of exposure within school.

November 20: Hurlbutt Elementary reports that a first grade student tested positive and that no other students or staff were at risk of exposure within the school.

November 19: A sixth grade student tested positive. School officials say no additional students or staff were at risk of exposure within school.

November 17: A Weston High School staff member tested positive. Contact tracing was conducted. A number of individuals were asked to self-quarantine.

At Hurlbutt Elementary, following contact tracing, a positive test result for a staff member resulted in 14 staff members and 14 students asked to quarantine.

At WIS, the positive test of a third grade student resulted in 33 students and staff asked to quarantine.

November 16: The school district reported that three more students tested positive for Covid-19. One is a high school student, one a middle school voluntary distance learner, one attends Weston Intermediate School. District officials said the students have not been in school for over a week, so no students or staff were at risk of exposure in school.

However, Intermediate School principal Pattie Falber reported that a third grade student’s positive test requires contact tracing that will force the school to shift to all-distance learning for at least Tuesday, November 17.

November 13: The school district reported that a third grade student tested positive, apparently the first case of exposure on a school bus. Officials say the student has been quarantined for over a week and see no risk of a spread within the school.

November 12: The school district announced that, due to rapid Covid escalation and evidence of a spread in at least one Weston school, the district will shift into hybrid mode on November 16.

Earlier in the day, district officials said another fifth grade student has tested positive. The student had not been in school for over a week, so no spread to students or staff was expected.

The district also announced that 21 high school athletes were exposed at an away sporting event to a student from another district who tested positive.

In addition, the administration reported that a First Student bus driver has tested positive. Families whose children rode the bus in the past 48 hours have been notified.

November 11: The school district announced that two fifth grade students tested positive for Covid-19.

The students had been on self-quarantine and not in school for over one week. Thus, the district concluded that no other students or staff were at risk of exposure within school.

District officials noted, however, that one of the students appears to be the first case of a spread within the schools. The second student’s exposure appears to have occurred outside of school.

An eighth grade student also tested positive, has been out of school in self-quarantine for more than a week, and thus, according to district officials, other students and staff were not at risk of exposure in the school.

November 9: The school district reported that a ninth grade student tested positive for Covid. According to school officials, the student had not been in school for over a week, so no students or staff were at risk of exposure at the high school.

Weston Intermediate School has reopened for full in-person classes. Hurlbutt Elementary is also open in the same mode. Voluntary distance learning remains available to students at all schools.

The high school and middle school remain in the hybrid mode. However, one middle school team is in full-distance through November 19 due to teacher quarantines.

November 7: At Weston Middle School, one team, the 7th Grade Adventurers, shifts to remote learning from Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 19. Four academic teachers on the team are in quarantine. Those teachers will deliver instruction remotely.

A Chartwells food service staff member tested positive. School officials say no other Chartwells employees, no students, and no staff were at risk of exposure, as all other Chartwells staff around the employee were fully masked, wore gloves, and were more than six feet away at all times.

November 6: The Weston Public School district announced that a high school staff member tested positive. As a result, 17 staff members and one student have been asked to quarantine. The high school has shifted into a full distance learning mode until November 13.

A fifth-grade student case at Weston Intermediate School has also been confirmed. Contact tracing is underway. The district says the exposure may reach into the third grade. The school will be all-distance on Thursday and Friday as tracing continues.

At Hurlbutt, a staff member tested positive. Contact tracing is complete, some individuals are quarantining. The school building will remain open.

At the Middle School, a seventh grade student tested positive following a contact outside of school grounds. The district reports that advice from the health district indicates it is safe for the school to remain open. However, 17 students and four staff members have been asked to quarantine.

In October: On October 29, the school district announced that a staff member at Weston Intermediate School tested positive for Covid-19, an exposure that occurred off-campus. District officials said a review determined there was no risk of exposure on school grounds to students or staff.

Earlier, the school district reported that, over the weekend, a number of Weston High School ninth and tenth graders came into contact with a student from a neighboring town who tested positive.

The district said the contact occurred at an away sporting event. 19 Weston student athletes, now asked to quarantine, were in contact with the positive student case.

Previously, word came that a Weston Middle School student and a Weston High School student tested positive for Covid-19. Contact tracing was conducted.

As a result, according to principals Lisa Wolak and Dan Doak, 13 Weston High School students and staff and 10 from Weston Middle School have been asked to test and go into 14-day quarantine.

Earlier in the month, two school staff members tested positive, but contact tracing found no evidence of a spread. No building closures were found necessary. Days later, a confirmed case at Weston Intermediate School caused a one-day closure while contact tracing was conducted. The building reopened, but, according to Principal Pattie Falber, 39 students and staff were asked to self-quarantine.

Exposures have also affected youth sports teams. Two Weston Soccer Club coaches were in direct contact with a confirmed case. One coach tested positive, the other negative. Both were asked to go into 14-day quarantine. After contact tracing was conducted, games and practices were canceled for the Pre-K Boys and U11 Boys Travel teams. In total, 29 players were advised to quarantine and be tested.

Fairfield County

We focus on the daily number of new Covid cases (per 100,000 of population), partly because it is the State’s primary metric for guidance about school modes of operation (distance, hybrid, fully open). It is also the primary metric for determining general reopenings (phases 1, 2, and 3).

We focus on the county, as the State recommends, because the dataset is larger and more reliable. It is also most relevant, since few people confine their activities to their town’s borders.

Each week, the State reports a rolling average of new cases for the prior 14 days. That tends to muffle recent developments, and makes it difficult to see trends that have emerged.

Our approach is to calculate and depict, each day, the seven-day average for that day. The chart also shows what the seven-day average was on each of the preceding six days. That way, we can visualize, every day, the trajectory over the past week. It should be noted that this does not necessarily predict where the trend is heading.

This is the seven-day average today and that of each of six preceding days for the county’s infection rate.

The infection rate is the R0 (R-naught) you may recall hearing about in the early days of the pandemic when all the talk was about flattening the curve. The rate tells you the average number of people who will contract Covid from exposure to someone who is already infected.

You want that number low. You definitely don’t want it to grow.

If the rate is less than 1, the disease will eventually die out. If it is 1, each existing infection causes one new infection. In that case the disease will stay alive and stable, but there won’t be an outbreak.

If the R0 is more than 1, each infection causes more than one new infection. The larger the number, the greater the likelihood of an outbreak.

This is the seven-day average today and that of each of six preceding days of the percentage of tests that come back positive.

The percentage of daily positives can be influenced by the number of tests performed, but less so now than in the early days of the pandemic, when very little testing was done. To a certain extent, the positivity rate, combined with the infection rate, may give a clue about where the number of new daily cases is heading.

These are the county’s raw numbers for Covid-related hospitalizations and deaths in the most recently-reported one-week period. The data is not updated on weekends.

Red Alert cities and towns

As of December 3, 160 Connecticut cities and towns are on the Red Alert list. One is in the orange zone. Only eight towns are below orange: Bolton, Canaan, Hartland, North Stonington, Roxbury, Scotland, Union, Voluntown, and Warren.

In total, 21,927 people live in those towns. That is six-tenths of one percent of the state's population.

A municipality is added to the weekly Red Alert list when its average daily Covid-19 case rate over the last two weeks is greater than 15 (per 100,000 of population).

Today's numbers (not averages)

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