WILMINGTON — During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday night, Wilmington Health Director Shelly Newhouse announced the latest COVID-19 numbers in town: 27 positive cases and over 40 in quarantine. She attributed the rise of quarantines to several parties that the town’s younger residents have participated in over the past few weeks.
Newhouse shared people seem to be getting tired of COVID restrictions and blatantly ignoring them.
“We’re seeing social gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks, aren’t social distancing, and engaging in risky behaviors like that,” she said. “We’re seeing that everywhere, not just in Wilmington.”
She considers this recent uptick a new “cycle” of cases.
Selectman Greg Bendel asked if any of the positive cases are in the same household, and Newhouse said that some households have two or more positive cases. He also wondered if she could resume giving the number of recovered cases in town along with the current active cases, which she agreed to do.
The health director clarified in an answer to a question from Kevin Caira that the more than 40 residents in quarantine are outside of, and not including, the 27 positives. She explained that positive cases are considered isolated while those in quarantine are the close contacts of the positive cases in town.
Selectman Jomarie O’Mahony said that she empathizes with residents feeling a “quarantine fatigue” but wants to see everyone following the safety guidelines and restrictions.
“When we slip up like this, it sets back everything even more,” she commented.
She referenced a specific contact situation that involved her son’s soccer team being exposed and thanked Newhouse for her department’s mitigating work.
At this point, Newhouse pleaded to residents to answer when she calls and to let her know about the contacts that they’ve made in town once they test positive. One example she gave was of a student who was in school on Friday in person who has since tested positive causing almost 20 quarantines because they went to a party over the weekend.
While she knows that residents want to go back to normal life again, she asked that residents don’t hesitate to name their close contacts for the sake of public safety.
Each member of the board thanked Newhouse and her department for their diligence.
“The work, the hours, and the effort that you’ve been putting in for the last seven and a half months has been a Herculean task,” said Selectman Jonathan Eaton.
They let her know that all of the health department’s diligence in protecting residents has been appreciated.