Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media
BRIDGEPORT — On Monday, Bridgeport passed Norwalk and took second place with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state.
On Thursday it passed the 1,000-case mark and appeared headed to 1,100.
But Mayor Joe Ganim was not surprised.
“As expected, we were so low in the early part of the month and the last week of March,” he said. “We knew we weren’t going to get away with such low numbers.”
Summer Johnson McGee, the University of New Haven’s dean of health sciences, was similarly unsurprised.
“New cases and deaths fluctuate from day to day but the general trend line is still increasing,” she said. “We aren’t out of the woods yet.”
McGee said cases are hitting each major city as the virus moves northward across the state.
“The peak for New Haven and Hartford likely will happen in the next week or so,” the UNH dean said. “This spread largely has to do with travel patterns but also is a reflection of some disadvantaged communities being hit harder.”
As of Thursday, Stamford retained its position of the highest number of cases with 1,620, followed by Bridgeport’s 1,042; Norwalk’s 821; and New Haven’s 864.
Ganim said Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical Center seem to be managing the increased number of hospitalized patients.
As of Thursday, sixty percent of Bridgeport Hospital’s 501 beds and 64 percent of St. Vincent’s 473 beds were in use. As for ventilators used to help the sickest patients breath, Bridgeport is using 70 percent of the ones they have available while St. Vincent’s is using 60 percent of theirs.
Meanwhile, Ganim signed an executive order which will take effect Friday requiring anyone to wear a mask or facial covering in public places such as parks, stores and essential businesses. The governor has said he plans to issue a similar directive soon.
“This is going to be the rule,” Ganim said. “These masks are something we’re going to have to get used to for awhile … so we may as well start now.”
Additionally, the mayor urged people to wear gloves, take advantage of the anti-bacterial wipes upon entering a store to wipe down carriages or baskets, follow the arrows guiding traffic flow on the aisles and keep a 6-foot distance from the person in front of them.
“Only a fool breaks the 6-foot rule,” Ganim said.
McGee recommended washing cloth face coverings after each use and then hands after removing the mask.
Additionally she said packages and mail, as well as their contents, should be wiped with disinfecting wipes if possible and hands washed afterward.
“The last and most important step after any time spent outside your home should be thorough hand washing for at least 20 seconds,” McGee advised. “The same sanitizing process goes for anything you are bringing inside your home — groceries, packages, or restaurant delivery — as much as possible.”