A string of parties and mass gatherings at Candlewood Lake have been cited as one of the leading reasons for Danbury’s spike in COVID-19 cases.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said this week that the recent rise in cases in the city has been largely in younger people, and could have been spread through parties that have been held at the lake, located in both northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield counties, this month.
Officials said that the gatherings are not following the state’s COVID-19 guidance, and that there have been reports of boaters strapping themselves together to form large groups on the water.
There were also reports of gatherings on the lake’s islands, which have been closed since the beginning of the month due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In response, the state Department of Health has put certain restrictions in place at Candlewood Lake to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which has mostly been limited to Danbury, which has seen more than 200 new cases, while the state infection rate remains around 1 percent.
The Lattin's Cove state boat launch has been closed, and there will be limited parking - 50 percent capacity - at the Squantz Cove state boat launch on Candlewood Lake to help limit mass gatherings.
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said that those who are in violation of COVID-19 rules are risking it for others in the area.
“DEEP is proud to have been able to maintain access to outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the pandemic,” she said. “We’ve been able to do so thanks to the efforts of visitors who take proper precautions when enjoying our state’s beautiful natural resources.
“We need those good behaviors to continue, and we’ll be monitoring to ensure that everyone has a safe, enjoyable experience in the outdoors.”
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According to officials, the restrictions will be in effect for at least two weeks, at which point they will evaluate the numbers, lake-goers behavior, and make a new determination from there.
“Over the last several weeks, Connecticut has had one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, thanks to the efforts of our residents, health officials, and local leaders to keep themselves and others safe,” Lamont stated.
“We’ve seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections in Danbury, and when we see these kinds of upticks, we’re taking swift action to maintain our hard-won progress,” he continued. “We’re doing everything we can in partnership with Danbury’s elected officials and members of the community to mitigate further community spread.”
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