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by Shraon Rondeau

Connecticut, National Atlas of the United States, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

(Mar. 12, 2020) — On Tuesday a child at the Wilcoxson Elementary School in Stratford tested positive for the novel coronavirus, prompting closure of the school for the balance of the week.

The child was known to have been exposed to an adult with the virus who traveled to Italy, WTNH-Channel 8 reported.

The total number of cases jumped from three to six this week.  As of Thursday at 7:00 p.m., a total of 105 Connecticut residents were tested for coronavirus, with 99 being deemed “negative,” the state’s website reported.

On Thursday, Stratford Public Schools superintendent Dr. Janet M. Robinson announced that all schools will be closed “until further notice” beginning on Friday, March 13.

Following suit were multiple school systems west of the Connecticut River, to include Darien, Ansonia, Brookfield, New Britain, Weston, Bethel, Greenwich, Hamden, Stamford, Wilton, Trumbull, Waterbury, Hartford and New Haven public schools.

Enfield Public Schools and Ellington Public Schools, which are in the north-northeastern part of the state, will also be closed effective Friday.

A number of institutions of higher learning announced closures Thursday, including Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Gateway Community College, Middlesex Community College, Norwalk Community College, and Manchester Community College.

The University of Connecticut has canceled all traditional classes and will transition to online-only instruction, multiple sources reported Wednesday.

Numerous public libraries, churches, day care centers, adult learning centers and Mystic Seaport are also closing.

Symptoms of the virus include high fever, dry cough, and difficulty breathing, the CDC reports.  Children and young people are at lower risk of complications from coronavirus as opposed to the flu. Connecticut has experienced 68 deaths from the flu over the winter, including one child, WTNH-8 reported during its 10:00 p.m. news hour.

Earlier on Thursday, the City of Bridgeport canceled its St. Patrick’s Day parade and accompanying events.  Bridgeport schools will also be closed from March 13 through March 20, the system’s website reported, although schools will continue to serve breakfast and lunch.

At the same time, Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz toured a Meriden laboratory working to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, which emerged in December in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and quickly ballooned to thousands of cases both in China and other countries.  Iran and Italy have been particularly impacted.

Thus far, the states of Washington, California and New York have seen the highest number of U.S. cases, with Washington having experienced the highest number of fatalities at 31.

A total of 38 deaths nationwide were reported as of Thursday evening.

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