Deaths At 19; Rate Of Growth Slows

WESTPORT, CT — Two new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were reported in Westport on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 258. The number of residents who have died as a result of the virus stood at 19, according to state health officials.

In Fairfield County, the number of deaths have broken the 1,000 mark at 1,006; the total number of confirmed cases in the county was 12,879 as of Friday.

Statewide, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 627 to 32,411 and the number of deaths rose by 77 to 2,874, state health officials said on Friday.

Additionally, the number of new hospital admissions in the state declined by 49 to 1,327, and as of Friday 120,541 people have been tested.

Gov. Ned Lamont and officials are moving forward with plans to begin reopening the state on May 20, issuing further guidance on the matter on Friday. (Don’t miss local and statewide news about coronavirus developments and precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.)

On Friday, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe released an optimistic statement about the present and the near future, stressing that the town and the state are moving forward:

This week has been a good one in Westport. The rate of growth for confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to slow, and across the State, the number of hospitalizations continues to fall. The RTM passed the town and school budgets for fiscal year 2021, resulting in an overall increase of less than half of a percent. The town’s triple A rating from Moody’s has been reaffirmed. We are also pleased to announce that the town’s tax collections this fiscal year are on target and have not been significantly impacted by the virus. As a reminder, you have until May 22 to apply for a COVID-19 related tax deferment on your April installment payment.

The state is working toward reopening much of the private sector. Later today, we expect new guidance from the State Department of Economic and Community Development, which will cover aspects of reopening salons, barbershops, restaurants, offices and other businesses.

Westport will largely be following the State of Connecticut’s reopening strategy, as communicated by Governor Lamont. We have launched the ReOpen Westport Advisory Team, which held its first public meeting on Wednesday. Liaisons were named for each local business segment and they are actively reaching out to business owners. The Team is pleased to have Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA Commissioner and Westport resident, share his perspectives on reopening at the Monday, May 11 meeting at 11am. Westport’s state legislative delegation will also attend to update the Team on the State’s plan. You can watch this meeting via live streaming on our website or channel 79.

A week from today, we will open the parking facilities at Compo Beach at 50 percent capacity, and the Longshore Golf Course will be open for play, with certain restrictions. With summer coming, this is an opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy the warmer weather, and perhaps get some physical activity. But you have to remember the importance of maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet at all times and you must bring or wear a mask if you anticipate having difficulties achieving that.

In the coming week, we will announce the specific rules and regulations related to the beach opening. We will encourage you to follow them and remind you that everyone in town is relying on your compliance. Social distancing and wearing masks is imperative if we are to keep the beaches and golf course open.

Public health experts have determined that wearing a cloth face covering may prevent transmission by an infected person. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment in public places is of critical interest to all of us. If you are in a public place and cannot maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet, then you must cover your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering. The best advice is to have a mask available at all times if you are outside of your home and most certainly when you are at our beaches and parks. I keep mine around my neck when I step outside so it’s ready to go if necessary.

The Town of Westport has procured 25,000 face masks with the help of the Grace Farms Foundation in New Canaan and plan to distribute them to the general public Tuesday morning. Further details will follow on Monday.

Please continue to stay connected with the town as the COVID-19 response and reopening evolves. For updates, please check the Town website at westportct.gov/covid19 or the ReOpening site at westportct.gov/reopening.

I want to wish all of you a great Mother’s Day Weekend. Don’t forget – you’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home.

This article originally appeared on the Westport Patch

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