Report by Paula Antolini, December 9, 2020, 6:08PM EDT
A PLEA FOR HELP
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is an unfortunate fact that the long predicted “second wave” of COVID-19 infections has arrived. And by all measures, it’s shaping up to be worse that the initial outbreak last spring. Nationally, health officials are struggling with numbers of new infections that are setting new records on a daily basis. Along with this, several states are reporting critical shortages of hospital beds, intensive care units and, even worse, doctors and nurses. Locally, Bethel’s rate of new cases has risen over the past month from 12 per day per 100,000 population to over 53 in the last update.
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As we have reported recently, the most significant single factor in these new cases is small get-togethers. Some of the November surge may be related to Halloween activities, and with many people traveling this past Thanksgiving weekend, health care professionals are bracing for an even bigger surge over the next few weeks.
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Everyone involved, from the governor’s office right down to every local town official, understands the importance of keeping our kids in school and making sure our local retailers and restaurants are not forced to shut down again.
But we can’t do that without your help. So, I am writing to you tonight to ask for help. I am asking all of our community members to be extra diligent this holiday season. Please keep these safety precautions in mind at all times:
• If you feel sick, for any reason¸ please stay home, and please isolate yourself from your other family members until you know what it is. Please keep in mind that not all COVID symptoms are alike; some infections begin not with a sore throat and cough, but with common cold or allergy symptoms.
• In public, please wear your mask at all times.
• Please wash your hands often, wash them thoroughly and keep them away from your face.
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VACCINE APPROVALS EXPECTED SOON
Now for some better news: As you have probably heard, there are now three vaccine suppliers seeking emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. One has already been approved by British authorities. Supplies will be limited initially and will begin to ramp up after the first of the year. According to CDC and state officials, the first supplies will be reserved for doctors, nurses and other front-line health care workers.
We will publish more information on vaccine availability on the town website and through press announcements just as soon as we receive it.
Thank you for your help and cooperation. Let’s all work together and do our best to get through this winter season safely, together. 2021 promises to be much brighter!
– Matt Knickerbocker