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Blue background COVID-19 in red and UPDATE in white

First Selectman’s Corner – November 18, 2020

Friends & Neighbors in New Hartford,

While many in town see no change in the battle against the spread of Covid 19, make no mistake - it is here and it is increasing in our Community. Over the past two weeks, we've seen 15 new cases in town which increases our rate of infection to what the state classifies as a "red" zone. This data is now five (5) days old with increasing evidence that the numbers will continue on the upward trajectory.

The Town, Board of Education, and the Farmington Valley Health District continue to monitor the absolute number of cases and the case rate, both in New Hartford and across the Farmington Valley, as well as the context of the circumstances under which the cases are occurring, as we work collaboratively to take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus in the community. We continue to see single households with multiple cases, a number of cases involving health care workers, and many cases resulting from private gatherings where social distancing and mask wearing were not observed.

Preventing a continued increase in cases in New Hartford must be a community-wide effort and we must all do our part to prevent the spread of the virus. We remind residents of the following:

• COVID-19 symptoms may vary significantly from person to person and many of the symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses. Do not assume that your symptoms are something else! If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, isolate and get tested. Be sure to remain isolated while you await your test results.

• Small social gatherings can have a significant impact on the spread of disease and are impacting our case rate. This is particularly problematic as we move into the colder seasons. Please LIMIT or ELIMINATE all social activities outside of your immediate family unit.

• We know that transmission can occur among individuals who are not experiencing any symptoms (asymptomatic). Testing is available for anyone seeking a test. Anyone that believes they have been exposed is also urged to seek testing. Asymptomatic individuals should seek a PCR test as these are more sensitive than the rapid test and are more likely to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals.

• The basic control strategies of proper mask wearing, social distancing, staying home when sick and hand hygiene continue to be critically important in slowing the spread.

• High risk individuals should stay safe and stay home.

Please take note, Town Hall operations will move back to "appointment only" status as of Thursday, November 19, 2020 to protect the health of our employees and their families. The doors will be locked. I encourage everyone to conduct business by email (or snail mail) as much as possible. For those that need "in-person service" - we will return to our "get-in, get-out" policy. Sadly, we can't encourage non-essential visits under these circumstances.

Many have wondered about the status of "Light New Hartford". Due to the ever increasing number of cases, and the Governor's mandate to limit outside crowd sizes to under 50, sadly this event has to be cancelled. The Town will still have a Christmas Tree - and we are working to create on online (virtual) tree lighting event.

We will continue to provide the community with updates regarding the status of cases in New Hartford as new information becomes available. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Town Hall 860-379-3389 or the Farmington Valley Health District at (860) 352-2333 with questions. Be safe and be well.

Dan Jerram, First Selectman