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Norwalk’s coronavirus cases sharply decline, but reopening data still to come

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At its peak, the city had 348 coronavirus cases reported in one week.

Last month, Norwalk started releasing specimen collection data, which shows when a patient with coronavirus was tested instead of when they received their diagnosis. City officials say it captures a better sense of when a patient first became ill because the time it takes to receive test results often varies.

According to this data, the coronavirus spiked in Norwalk in early April when nearly 350 cases were reported between April 5 and April 11. The number of new cases dropped to 295 the following week and then 205. The data, however, excludes cases that did not include a specimen collection date.

Since the peak in early April, Norwalk cases have steadily declined. Over the last several weeks, case numbers have been cut nearly in half with 90 confirmed May 10 through May 16, followed by 49 the week after and 29 in the final week of May.

But it’s the number of cases that occur in the coming weeks that will assist determine the effects of the first phase of reopening, which started on May 20th. In Norwalk, the first phase included the reopening of retail, beaches, parks and outdoor dining. This week, barber shops and hair salons also reopened.

“That’s one of the things we will be watching very carefully,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “The thing I fear the most is when people see things starting to open up, that it sends the message that the situation is over and they get more relaxed and they start gathering in large numbers. That’s when we could see a spike.”

Rilling said Norwalk closely mirrored the state’s reopening plan and has established protocols to prevent a spike in cases. But the city might reexamine the plan and set more limitations if cases begin to rise.

“It’s possible we could see a spike,” Rilling said. “We have to analyze what’s happening. If the situation starts to escalate, we have to make appropriate decisions to pull back or close down. The number 1 priority is the health and safety of my community.”

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