Effective Response, Cross-border Lag, in Case of Coronavirus in Stonington Daycare – Niantic Children’s Museum Closes After Positive Test

With the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus in southeastern Connecticut linked to a Rhode Island child in a daycare facility in Stonington, Stephen Mansfield, executive director of Ledge Light Health District, said that while initial communication across state borders overnight had caused a short lag in awareness, proactive steps by the family and daycare provider nevertheless followed best practices recommended by the State Department of Health in Connecticut.

Families and individuals possibly exposed to the virus in Stonington have been asked to “self-quarantine” for 14 days.

Rather than focusing on a particular case, Mansfield cautioned that the public “should assume that the virus is already endemic in our communities,” should practice “social distancing” to reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus, and should stay home if feeling symptoms of the virus.

Mansfield explained that “flattening the curve,” and preventing a spike in the demand for health care that could overwhelm the system, is key to an effective response to the Coronavirus.

Mansfield cautioned residents wanting care or testing not to seek help directly at the emergency room, but to call their health care provider. Residents without a doctor or insurance can call the free Yale New Haven System COVID-19 HOTLINE 1-203-688-1700.

Mansfield said that the free hotline, which he tested himself, is “incredibly good.”

Mansfield also said that federal and state guidelines have not called for closing daycare facilities, a decision which is currently in the hands of individual providers. Mansfield said that based on cases worldwide, children are at a very low risk of developing serious complications associated with the virus, but he cautioned that children can still transmit the virus to more at-risk populations, including the elderly.

Regarding the case of the Stonington daycare provider, he said that while “communication can always improve,” his agency works regularly with its counterparts in Rhode Island, and that the situation was handled well in the end.  Mansfield also said that since the case in Stonington, when health officials in Connecticut first learned of the positive test through social media, cross-border communication has improved.

In addition, on Friday the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut in Niantic closed “effectively immediately,” after a visitor to the museum on Sunday, March 8, later tested positive for the virus and is now being treated in Bridgeport Hospital, according the museum’s website.

Events, classes and admission to the museum are expected to be closed through March 30.

With limited testing, as of Friday morning, the current number of confirmed cases of the virus in Connecticut stands at 13, including the case in Stonington.