NEWINGTON – Town Hall is back in lockdown mode as covid-19 has infiltrated at least 10 different town departments over the last few weeks.
“It’s a bad situation and it may get much worse,” Newington Town Manager Keith Chapman told elected officials during the regular meeting of the Town Council, held virtually Tuesday night.
“Eight to 10 employees have come down with covid in the last two weeks. I’ve been fully-vaccinated with my booster and I have covid right now,” Chapman went on to add. “I feel like I have a slight cold, but without the vaccination I can’t imagine what it might be like.”
The Central Connecticut Health District’s four member towns of Newington, Berlin, Wethersfield and Rocky Hill are all currently in the ‘red’ zone, reporting a very high case rate over the last two weeks. In fact, all but 22 of Connecticut’s 169 towns are currently “in the red.”
Each town’s testing positivity rate is recorded weekly on Thursdays. As of the latest data available, Newington’s was 26.7%.
“That’s the highest it’s been since February,” Newington Emergency Management Director Meghan Manke pointed out. “We saw a huge incline during the beginning to mid-April. We completely skipped orange, went right to red and we have continued to steadily incline since.”
Employees that are not vaccinated who have contact with an infected individual must quarantine for several days.
“Currently there are at least 10 departments that have somebody out with covid or somebody just coming off of an isolation,” Manke said. “We’re already short staffed and kind of scrambling in a lot of departments. This is the most positive cases we’ve had in awhile and the most that are actually experiencing symptoms.”
All entrances into Town Hall have been locked and the public is asked to conduct any necessary business over the phone or on the town’s website.
For the time being, programs and activities are still taking place at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library and the Newington Senior & Disabled Center.
“We’re going to reevaluate at the end of three weeks and see where we are,” Chapman said.
Masks and testing kits are available by contacting the Town’s Department of Human Services at 860-667-8590, the Senior & Disabled Center at 860-667-8778, or Emergency Management Director Meghan Manke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.