Easton COVID cases rise, prompting mask mandate in town buildings

Town Hall in Easton, Conn. April 20, 2012.

Town Hall in Easton, Conn. April 20, 2012.

Autumn Driscoll / Autumn Driscoll

EASTON — First Selectman Dave Bindelglass recently issued a mask mandate in public buildings as Easton returns to the red-level for COVID-19 infection rates.

The latest surge of the delta variant and the amount of new cases in Easton have forced town officials to make a decision on how to proceed through this next wave.

“Given the worsening numbers of infected and ill COVID patients both in Connecticut and in Easton, I am mandating that masks be worn in all public buildings in Easton,” Bindelglass said in a statement posted on the town website. “Business will otherwise be conducted as usual. I hope our restaurants and farms will require masks indoors as well. I urge all residents to be appropriately cautious with social distancing, hand washing and to be thoughtful about what we do at home.”

The announcement came Aug. 10, just days before Saturday’s annual farm tour.

“With the start of the school year fast approaching, and the Senior Center remaining open, I want to be proactive so that we can begin school normally and keep our Senior Center providing valuable support and social interactions for our seniors,” he said of the mandate.

The COVID-19 flare up over the last two weeks now has 39 Connecticut communities, including Easton, returning to the state’s red-level classification. Red-level is defined as 15 or more cases per 100,000 residents. The total number of towns in this segment has dramatically increase from just seven last week, the state Department of Public Health reported Thursday.

Easton and Stamford were the only Fairfield County municipalities at the red level as of Friday.

Easton, Hartford and Thomaston were among the seven communities in the red last week and continue at that classification this week.

While Easton has been listed in the red, it’s important to note that despite the higher rate, there are only 21 cases actually reported. Thirteen cases were reported in the first week of reporting between July 25 and July 31 and eight cases were reported from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7.

The Department of Public Health recommends people in red-alert communities limit trips out of the home, cancel indoor events, avoid indoor gatherings with non-family members and postpone outdoor gatherings where social distancing cannot be maintained.

“I do not take this action lightly,” Bindelglass said of the mandate. “As always, I trust the people of Easton to do the right thing both for themselves and for our community.”