Sherman now in the ‘red zone’ with 15 new COVID-19 cases, first selectman ‘deeply concerned’

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox
Photographs from the town center of Sherman.

Photographs from the town center of Sherman.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHERMAN — Following in the footsteps of its neighbors, the town of Sherman is now in the red zone, in regard to COVID-19 cases.

As of Thursday, state data, the town has reported 15 new confirmed cases — three in one week and 12 in the other week. This brings the case rate to 29.5 daily new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period. Sherman has a population of 3,630.

Most of those cases have been in children ages 2 to 12, said Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe.

While he said he’s not in a panic over the increase, he’s “deeply concerned.”

“We’ve had an increase — mostly in children 2 to 12,” Lowe said. The cases are from two adults and 10 children. He said most of the 10 children who tested positive are between age 10 and 12.

Lowe said he doesn’t know if anyone who tested positive has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Whenever there is a new positive COVID case, he just gets the age, gender and address of the individual.

Lowe said he has been encouraging vaccination “since we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to be vaccinated, and that includes for everybody who’s eligible. That also applies to the booster shot.”

On Nov. 2, the CDC officially approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children from the ages of 5 to 11. There are 294 children in town ages 5-11 and about 17 percent had the vaccination process initiated as of Thursday. About 2 percent are fully vaccinated.

Lowe said a lot of the kids in town “are in the hands of The Sherman School.”

“The school has done a marvelous job through this pandemic and I’ve got a lot of confidence that whatever they decide to do will be the right move since a lot of these cases are of school-aged children,” he added.

In regard to the new COVID variant omicron, there are no extra precautions or protocols yet in Sherman, Lowe said. He said he’s following CDC guidelines closely.

In the meantime, Lowe advises people continue wearing a mask in large groups.

While there is no more “vaccination van” coming regularly to the New Fairfield High School parking lot, residents of Sherman can sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in other locations in New Fairfield as well, as in New Milford, Brookfield, Kent and other nearby towns.

Timothy Simpkins, the Sherman director of health, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

In a letter sent to parents Wednesday evening from Sherman School Superintendent Jeff Melendez, Melendez addressed the increased COVID positive rates in the area.

He provided families with a reminder to observe the CDC’s recommendations regarding strategies to reduce the spread of COVID and associated variants.

Additionally, he advised families to exercise caution when making decisions to allow children to participate in activities where contact with COVID positive individuals may be higher.

The Sherman School is now releasing its newest version of its reopening plan, which includes specific accommodations for students such as the Screen and Stay initiative and its Knight School program — a virtual learning plan for quarantined students.

“As we have for the past 19 months, let’s continue to be vigilant about the safety of our students and staff. I am grateful for the cooperation demonstrated by students, staff, and our parents and guardians to ensure we maintain a safe environment,” Melendez wrote.

According to the CDC, as of Thursday, there has been a total of 276 total cases and three deaths from COVID in Sherman, and since Nov. 1, there has been 22 new cases.

As of Nov. 30, neighboring towns have also seen an uptick in cases — New Milford has seen 41 new cases in four days, and as of Nov. 24, 52 children in Brookfield were quarantining.