Norwalk COVID positivity rate surges to over 5%, mayor says

Photo of Abigail Brone
Norwalk’s COVID positivity rate has surges to more than 5 percent in the last two-week period, an increase of more than 4 percent in two months.

Norwalk’s COVID positivity rate has surges to more than 5 percent in the last two-week period, an increase of more than 4 percent in two months.

Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK — The city’s COVID positivity rate has surged to more than 5 percent — an increase of more than 4 percentage points in the past two months, the mayor reported Friday.

For the two-week period from Aug. 15 to 28, Norwalk’s positivity rate was 5.4 percent, according to Mayor Harry Rilling’s weekly coronavirus update released Friday. The August report marks the first time the city reached a positivity rate of more than 5 percent since the spring, city spokesperson Josh Morgan said.

In the last week, Norwalk had 115 more confirmed cases and one additional death, according to the report.

“Looking back, it seemed to be between 5 and 6 percent all March and April before dropping off,” Morgan said.

Norwalk’s positivity rate reached 6.3 percent on April 22, before dropping to as low as 0.8 percent on July 1, Morgan said.

While the positivity rate is on the rise, Norwalk has experienced worse. In January, the city had a positivity rate over 10 percent, Morgan said.

The positivity rate could be on the rise as people become more vigilant and access to testing has increased with the city offering free tests five days a week, Morgan said.

“I think more accessible testing is part of it,” Morgan said. “People are seeking out testing since it’s very convenient and no cost. So there could be people with mild or no symptoms getting tested who otherwise may have gone without.”

As with last week’s reports, COVID-19 vaccinations are also on the rise in Norwalk, particularly for the adolescent population, according to the state Department of Public Health data. More than 79 percent of Norwalkers between 12 and 17 have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, according to the data.

Last week, about 77 percent of Norwalkers between the ages of 12 and 17 received the vaccine, an increase of 3.3 percent from the previous week.

“Hopefully, with more people getting vaccinated and more people getting tested, the virus won’t have a chance to spread as much,” Morgan said.

The increase in youth vaccinations may be attributed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine and the Norwalk Public Schools’ return to in-person learning, among other reasons, Morgan previously said.

The city on Friday released additional data regarding vaccination rates for Norwalk residents, showing the rate of vaccination in Norwalk is higher than the state average.

“Approximately 65 percent of Norwalk residents of all ages (which includes those who are not eligible) are fully vaccinated,” the mayor’s report read. “This is higher than the state coverage of approximately 62 percent.”

However, there are more than 30,000 Norwalk residents who are not vaccinated and about 7 percent who received only half the vaccination regimen, according to the report.

The return of the city-run COVID testing sites are a testament to the increase in the spread of the virus, as the sites remain busy.

“Demand for COVID-19 testing remains high, with anywhere from 150-200 people getting tested on any given day at our pop-up clinics,” Rilling said.

“This has generated some additional traffic at our school site, so in the interest of public safety, we are moving all testing from Brien McMahon High School to Roton Middle School.”

Rilling said the change takes effect Saturday.

The free testing sites will remain available five days a week, Rilling said.

Statewide, the COVID-19 positivity rate has stayed around 3 percent , but more than 4,500 cases were confirmed and 39 Connecticut residents died in the last week, according to DPH data.

abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com