Update for 10/23/2020
There is no question in my mind that we are looking at a real uptick in COVID-19 cases in Connecticut and in Easton. There has been slow, steady growth in the number of people in the hospital in the state and county, but also a growing number of positives in Easton.
From our peak of roughly 30 cases in the “first wave,” we have added more than 20 additional cases. Through our association with the Westport/Weston Health District, we are now doing contact tracing for these cases. Whether or not this constitutes a true “second wave” is open to interpretation, but the trend is definitely concerning. Consider that as it gets colder certain activities we had moved outside to be more cautious will inevitably move back inside. Restaurants are increasing indoor capacity and schools are operating in-person learning.
We all have virus fatigue. Among other things, this is why the town is not sponsoring any 2020 Halloween activities (see the town website for a letter from Mark Cooper, director of health). We need to return to the levels of vigilance that we all observed so well in April and May. Think carefully about travel, and if you have children at college, start to plan for their return in November. Some college campuses have been problematic for the spread of COVID-19. Students returning home can present a risk for the entire household. Along with their possible exposure traveling (bus, carpool or plane) they will be tempted to get together with their friends when they return. Talk to them.
At this time we are probably all better stocked with PPE, which helps. There is also a far greater availability of testing. While neither testing strategies nor the tests themselves are perfect, if you have concerns about exposure or unsafe behaviors, get tested. As always, this is about working together to keep our community safe. Consider as you make decisions about where you go; some of our neighboring towns are struggling with bigger waves.
We are now in the home stretch for the election. I want to offer a plea for civility; everyone has a right to their opinion in this very contentious time. Free expression does not include the right to vandalize. The town spends countless resources (which could be better used) to clean spray-painted roads and take down signs illegally nailed to trees. We, as taxpayers of this town, are footing the bill for these acts. Please respect people’s right to post signs in legitimate places and do not remove or steal those signs as this constitutes criminal activity.
You may submit an application for an absentee ballot by Nov. 2 by noon. Ballots must be returned to the ballot box across from the police station by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. No ballots will be accepted after 8 p.m. for any reason (running late, car trouble, even waiting in line to deposit your ballot, please plan accordingly).
I want to highlight the ongoing work of the South Park Advisory Committee. I commend the fact that while this committee encompasses a tremendous spectrum of viewpoints on a very controversial issue in town, they have really come together to look at solutions comprehensively, cooperatively, and with an open mind on each individual member’s part. I see this as a model for what we are capable of in town, and I hope you all take note of how they approach their work and how they work together.
We have ongoing discussions about the future of how our fields are maintained, an ordinance governing land use, and the pathway along Sport Hill Road. I hope to have a modified Town Meeting after the election to address these and other issues.
Please try to be extra safe and have a great weekend.