Despite ‘little spike’ in COVID cases, no indoor mask mandate yet for Wilton

Photo of J.D. Freda
Wilton will not yet insitute indoor mask mandates despite a slight uptick in town cases over the past few weeks.

Wilton will not yet insitute indoor mask mandates despite a slight uptick in town cases over the past few weeks.

Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — The town is still not considering a move to indoor mask mandates, despite a slight increase in COVID-19 cades, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said this week.

“I’ve only heard from a couple of people that had some alarm that we didn’t have a mask mandate when they (saw) those numbers,” Vanderslice said during the Board of Selectman meeting on Tuesday.

Those concerns stemmed from an uptick in recent statistics in both the town and the county, especially after the arrival of the delta variant in the region.

In the last week of July, Wilton saw five cases, according to the state Department of Health. The very next week, that figure jumped to 13. The next figures will be released this Thursday.

Wilton’s rate of infection per 100,000 residents is seven.

Vanderslice cautioned residents to understand that there is more to the increase in town cases, though.

“It’s important to understand that a number of these people are already vaccinated and therefore are having mild to no symptoms,” the first selectwoman said. “We are not seeing the illnesses because a significant number of these people are vaccinated and that is important.”

Vanderslice and Wilton Health Director Barrington Bogle met earlier on Tuesday to discuss the “little spike” in numbers. Their conversation resulted in agreement that there is currently “no reason” to institute a “mask mandate for vaccinated residents while indoors.”

The town is experiencing both transmission of the virus to residents who are unvaccinated and by way of breakthrough transmission, meaning transmission to residents who are fully vaccinated.

“Even if you’re vaccinated, you’re at a greater risk of actually having the virus, but as we see in hospital numbers, you are not likely to have anything beyond mild symptoms,” Vanderslice said.

When the new numbers are released, officials will recongregate for further guidance, but with many of the town’s positive cases coming from breakthrough cases, the first selectwoman believes mitigation at a personal level is possible.

“That would really be the message to public — if you are around unvaccinated people, particularly children, and you are indoors, then you might want to wear a mask yourself to protect the children or the other unvaccinated people you are with,” she said.

She also pointed to a hopeful vaccine rollout for children starting at age 5 to 12, to which she is confident many of the town’s parents will be proactive in signing the child up for.

With a townwide full vaccination rate of 76 percent and first dose totals even higher, Vanderslice said one “should expect we’re going to have a large vaccination rate under 12.”