Oct. 9—WINDHAM — While the town's alert status was upgraded from red to orange this week, town officials continue to be cautious about the town's COVID-19 case rate.
According to data released by the state Thursday, Windham's COVID-19 infection rate improved slightly, bringing it from red, the worst of four alert levels, to orange, the second- worst alert level.
" We snuck in by a little bit," Windham Town Manager Jim Rivers said Friday, referring to orange. The change in status, however, does not entail any changes to the mask mandates in Windham.
Rivers said there needs to be significant improvement over a couple weeks for him to consider lifting the mandates.
" I'm not going to jerk the mask mandates back and forth," he said. "We have to be very good for a number of weeks."
Windham Mayor Thomas DeVivo agreed with Rivers' rationale, but said the improvement is " encouraging."' " I'm hoping things get better," he said.
There are four colors on the state's alert system — red, orange, yellow and gray.
A town is at red if it has an average daily count of 15 or more cases per 100,000 people over two weeks, while orange entails an average daily count of 10 to 14 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks.
The yellow level entails an average daily count of five to nine cases per 100,000 people and the lowest level, gray, entails a daily average case count over two weeks of less than five cases per 100,000 people.
Rivers spoke about the potential for high transmission during the winter. " We're not out of the woods," he said. " The orange is still pretty high."
The town issued the indoor mask mandate in businesses after reaching red status in September.
Rivers said the mandate compliance at businesses is " better and better every week."
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The town also issued a mandate for town employees to be vaccinated recently, with Rivers noting about 95 percent have gotten at least the first dose.
" We think we have about 10 that have indicated that they may not get it, but that's up to them," he said.
Town officials have said municipal employees will lose their employment with the town if they do not get a first vaccination dose by Oct. 18.
In addition, town officials have been emphasizing the importance of residents getting vaccinated and the importance of improving the town's vaccination rate.
The latest vaccination rate for the town was reported by the state Wednesday as being 57.07 percent, but local officials believe the rate is actually higher.
Town officials have indicated while college students were counted in Windham for the census, they were counted in their hometowns for vaccination rates. "This is a great opportunity for you to keep your neighbors safe, show you love one another," DeVivo said during his Facebook show Thursday.
He said there are still cases of the highly contagious delta variant in town.
" You need to be cautious," DeVivo said. "You need to be careful."
Meanwhile, a vaccination clinic is being held from 1 to 5 p. m. at Rec Park today.
The clinic is targeting those who got vaccinated at VAXPO on Sept. 18 and need a second dose, but individuals can get a first dose as well.
All three vaccinations will be offered that day to people ages 12 and older.
Children need to have a parent or guardian with them to get vaccinated.
Information about vaccination clinics in town is available at ct. gov/ covidvaccine. Information about testing sites in town is available at portal. ct. gov/ Coronavirus/TestingSiteListings.
Follow Michelle Warren on Twitter @mwarrentc.