We all are consumed by news of the coronavirus, Covid-19, that is spreading throughout the United States. Our town and our immediate area have no known cases of Covid-19 at this time. However, this is unlikely to continue. Governor Lamont yesterday declared a public health emergency and civil preparedness emergency that will remain in effect through September 9, 2020 unless terminated earlier.
In that declaration, it is stated that he is “delegating the powers of isolation and quarantine to municipal and district directors of public health. Municipalities, local health officials and local education officials are directed to follow previously issued guidance and apply relevant principles of risk management to decisions about whether to cancel, modify, or postpone large gatherings, public events or travel.”
On Monday, the Governor and various state officials held a conference call with all relevant personnel in the state concerning the epidemic. Both our Emergency Manager for the Town of Canaan and I, as First Selectman, participated in this meeting. This was the day before the emergency declaration noted above. It is clear that we are no longer in the ‘containment’ stage of the spread of this novel coronavirus. We are now in the ‘mitigation’ phase.
While I am sure you have all heard from various sources the protection measures that you can take to prevent contracting the disease but I repeat them below:
- Maintain social distancing. Don’t shake hands.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Don’t touch your hands to your face until after washing your hands.
- Avoid crowded places.
- If you feel sick, stay home.
To this end, I have asked our local school and the Children’s theatre to postpone any functions that bring together over 100 people.
Our town has a high median age and those of us who are over 60 or have underlying health problems are at greater risk of fatal outcomes if they contract this virus.
We have placed our Emergency Management System in alert status and want to keep our citizens safe. Each of us can help to keep this virus in check locally if we follow rigorously the protective steps outlined. We all have to continue doing our jobs, caring for children and all those tasks that are part of our daily lives but we also have a responsibility to protect those around us through our personal efforts.
Over the course of this outbreak, we will provide updates and local information that we believe is relevant. On the banner on the home page of our website you will find a link to an official Connecticut site that provides up-to-date news pertaining to the virus and answers to frequently asked questions as well as a quick link to the First Selectman blog.