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Groton placed on COVID-19 "red alert," cancels many activities

Groton — The state Department of Public Health placed Groton this week on a "red alert" for COVID-19 cases, prompting local officials to cancel the Annual Mystic Irish 5K Road Race on Saturday and halt indoor activities at the Senior Center and Community Center.

The state places communities under red alert when they have 15 or more daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. Groton, Waterford, Salem and Lisbon were among the new communities added to the "red" alert map this week, while East Lyme moved to "orange," a rate of 10 to 14 cases per 100,000, and Preston to "yellow," a rate of 5 to 9 cases per 100,000. 

Montville, Norwich, New London, Griswold and Sprague remain among the communities under "red" alert. Old Lyme, Ledyard, North Stonington and Stonington are among those under "yellow" alert.

The state recommends "red" alert communities cancel public events and postpone indoor activities as well as outdoor activities with insufficient social distancing and mask wearing. People should limit trips outside their home and avoid gathering with people outside their family.

The Annual Mystic Irish 5K Road Race was slated to be held Saturday in a limited manner. But Groton Parks and Recreation posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon that, due to the red alert, all Parks and Recreation programs are canceled for the remainder of the season ending Nov. 10. The department also announced that the race and organized use of athletic fields are cancelled.

"Unfortunately, we are not offering refunds," the post said. "The basketball and volleyball courts are also being closed. Trails and playgrounds are open but please be diligent about precautions given our red status."

Indoor activities at the Senior and Community Centers are cancelled until the town is no longer on red alert, the town said in a Facebook post.

"Ledge Light Health Department has indicated that we are seeing issues with spreading at large gatherings including sports practices/games," the post continued. "Please be extra vigilant on your mask wearing and try avoid any group activities."

The red alert status means that communities have the option to return to Phase 2 of the reopening plan, if they choose.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner said the school district will continue with interscholastic sports, following public health guidelines, and the hybrid learning format.

Graner announced in a notification Thursday that a member of the Northeast Academy Elementary School community tested positive for COVID-19. The person was told to isolate at home, and close contacts of the person were informed.

k.drelich@theday.com

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