Across the state, communities are responding to coronavirus in a variety of ways in an effort to keep residents safe while maintaining normalcy.
As of Monday, Connecticut had a total of 14,600 confirmed cases of the virus. Of these cases one was confirmed in Durham, another single case in Middlefield, two cases in North Haven, seven in Plainville and another 11 cases in Berlin.
In response to the encroaching threat, North Haven, Durham, Middlefield, Plainville and Berlin have all closed town offices and public buildings.
Durham, who had confirmed their first case of coronavirus on Thursday, has been closely coordinating with their health department to monitor the virus in town.
"We knew it was only a matter of time before there was a confirmed case in Durham, given that community spread has already been established in our region," said First Selectman Laura Francis. "We must assume that there are other cases already in our community at this time, and that the number will increase. If someone is sick with a fever and has a cough, you need to assume they have COVID-19. I strongly urge all Durham residents to heed instructions by public health officials to 'flatten the curve' and slow the spread of the disease by practicing social distancing."
In order to smooth the transition into self-isolation, the Durham recreation department has been hosting programs and activities over the video communication service Zoom for residents to enjoy.
Durham also continues to host a weekly farmers market with signs reminding people to maintain social distancing.
In the neighboring town of Middlefield, First Selectman Edward Bailey has not taken the situation lightly.
“The health district has put out a great deal of information on their website that is now available to access through the town’s website,” he said. “We also have twice weekly phone calls with the health district and emergency management teams about what’s what.”
Bailey said the town has cracked down on any organized group outings on town property, posted signs around town with links to information on the virus and continues to conduct any business they can outside of town hall – even issuing a marriage license in the parking lot.
“We have to get used to a different way of doing things,” Bailey said.
North Haven, who saw their first case on Friday, has committed to similar tactics as Middlefield.
In a televised presentation on Monday, Mar. 23, First Selectman Michael Freda announced that signs would be posted on public playgrounds and basketball courts urging social distancing.
Freda also said that while town offices are closed to the public, town officials are still hard at work and that town offices were being disinfected nightly.
“We do not want to shut everything down here in town but I need your help ladies and gentlemen,” said Freda. “I need your help to manage this.”
Berlin Mayor Mark Kaczynski also addressed the public in a recorded statement on Facebook. Kaczynski said that the town has “identified and quarantined” those who have contracted the virus.
Kaczynski also mentioned that children 18 and under can receive free meals for curbside pickup from Willard Elementary on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The only stipulation is that at least one child belong to the Berlin Public School system per family.
Closing out his public address, the mayor also spoke about the importance of supporting small business during this pandemic.
“It’s very difficult for our small businesses in town. We ask that you support our restaurants...also another suggestion we throw out there is maybe consider buying gift cards from some of our Berlin businesses,” he said.
Towns are also asking that those that can contribute and donate to their local food pantry do so.
As for those feeling sick, the best tips are to stay home and get in contact with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
"If you have any symptoms of illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should not leave home except to receive medical care," said Aimee Krauss, health director for Durham. "Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency."