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    Saturday, September 24, 2022

    Connecticut COVID-19 cases reach double-digits; local one involves R.I. child who attended Mystic facility

    Registered nurse Melissa Lawson takes the temperature of arriving patient Walter Wicks as she and registered nurse Carrie McCarthy, back, screen patients and visitors arriving Friday, March 13, 2020, at the main entrance of the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. Staff at each of the hospital's entrances were greeting anyone seeking to enter the hospital with a brief set of travel and health questions and then took a temperature before they were allowed to enter. The hospital this week restricted visitation to one person per patient at a time. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
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    A Rhode Island child who attended a Mystic child care facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus disease whose toll reached double digits Friday in Connecticut and in Rhode Island.

    The case, the first involving a victim with a connection to eastern Connecticut, was disclosed Friday afternoon by Ledge Light Health District, whose director of health told The Day it was “investigating a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in a daycare establishment in Stonington.”

    The facility is Precious Memories Place, a preschool and child care facility at 168 Greenmanville Ave., which earlier in the day informed families that the parent of a child who attends the facility indicated the child tested positive for the coronavirus.

    “LLHD officials have been in contact with the administrators of the facility, and guidance is currently being provided to the caregivers of the children who attend the facility,” Stephen Mansfield, the director of health, said.

    He said caregivers of children deemed at risk for contracting COVID-19 will be instructed to keep their children at home for 14 days; to contact their primary care provider if their child experiences a fever or cough; and to follow that provider's advice regarding the need for further medical evaluation.

    In an afternoon letter to parents of children who attend the facility, Mansfield said the health district and Connecticut state Department of Public Health were working together to identify children and staff who may be at risk of developing the disease. "If we determine that your child is at risk for developing COVID-19, you will be contacted by telephone as soon as possible."

    Asymptomatic persons will not be tested, he said.

    Since the child is a Rhode Island resident, the case was counted among those reported in that state and was not among the six new cases reported Friday in Connecticut, bringing its total to 11. Rhode Island officials reported nine new cases Friday, bringing that state's total to 14.

    Later Friday, Hartford HealthCare and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced that a confirmed case of COVID-19, Connecticut's 12th, was found in the Hartford region. No details of the case were immediately available, though a news conference was planned for 9:30 p.m.

    During an afternoon news conference in Hartford, Dr. Matthew Cartter, the Connecticut state epidemiologist, said the Rhode Island Department of Health had reached out to Connecticut officials in regard to the case involving the Mystic child care facility.

    “That facility is now closed,” Cartter said.

    Mansfield was unable to provide any details about the child who tested positive, including age, gender and town of residence. Attempts to reach Christine Eckersely, the owner of Precious Memories Place, were unsuccessful.

    Rhode Island’s health department announced that state's nine new cases Friday include four males and five females and that three of the cases involved children. It said it was investigating all of the cases and that four unrelated trips were involved that included travel to Europe, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Massachusetts. 

    The six new cases reported in Connecticut involve a woman in her 30s from Bethlehem, a man in his 60s from Bethlehem, a woman in her 40s from Westport, a man in his 50s from Darien, a man in his 40s from Greenwich and a man in his 20s from Greenwich. The data include tests conducted at both the Connecticut Department of Public Health State Laboratory, and private laboratories. In total, the state laboratory has completed 115 tests and private laboratories have completed 21 tests.

    Connecticut officials also announced the state Department of Education has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowing students who are enrolled in schools that are closed due to COVID-19 and receive meals through the school lunch program to continue receiving those meals and for them to be consumed at home, allowing for social distancing. The action is effective immediately.

    As with the summer lunch program, parents and students can show up at their school and receive a lunch for the student and other children in the household under the age of 18 and take the lunch home with them. The meals do not have to be consumed on school premises.

    Only one student in a household must be present to receive multiple meals for every child 18 years old and under in their household.

    In other efforts related to Connecticut's coronavirus response, the state Department of Social Services is expanding telemedicine coverage for those covered by Medicaid/HUSKY Health Services, and the state Department of Economic and Community Development is working with small businesses to extend loans. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has ordered a moratorium on all utility shut-offs.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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