Meriden officials declined to disclose details Wednesday on whether its contact tracing efforts led them to notify other towns or school districts that a Maloney football player who attended a rally at the state Capitol on Sept. 9 later tested positive for COVID-19.
By email through a city spokesperson, Meriden Public Health said it notified “all who were in close contact,” defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “any individual within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes,” with the person. Meriden declined to offer further details of who that included or whether that included anyone outside the city.
“Those who were notified are currently doing the 14-day quarantining,” the email from the city said.
The rally, organized to save a fall high school football season, drew over 1,000 people to Hartford, mostly high school players, with face coverings in wide evidence.
Emails to Gov. Ned Lamont’s staff seeking comment on the state Department of Public Health’s involvement in the process were not returned Wednesday afternoon.
Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Across town and under the same school system and administration, Platt was informed of the positive case, athletic director Richard Katz said.
The next step there, Katz said: “Just follow our policies to the best of our ability, that the schools sent down and that we have been following.”
In addition to the Maloney student, two younger students also recently tested positive for COVID-19, both associated with the Meriden Raiders youth football team.
Meriden City Manager Timothy Coon suspended the Raiders’ season “for the fall of 2020 in order to further the public health and safety of the Citizens of Meriden,” according to a memo dated Tuesday.
A post on the Raiders’ Facebook page on Tuesday morning said the league had suspended activity for 14 days after one player tested positive on Aug. 24. Those who had been in direct contact with that child tested negative, but the league urged others to be tested as well, which led to the second case.
Coon’s memo said the two positive tests associated with the Raiders had caused a total of 62 people to quarantine. “Many of the quarantined individuals are school aged children,” the memo said, “who must now or have missed attending school for 14 days. Also these incidents … (disrupt) parental schedules.”
The memo said that Meriden had 44 cases of COVID-19 in all of August but already had 54 in the first 15 days of September.
Football, classified as a high-risk sport for transmitting the novel coronavirus, won’t be sanctioned for high school athletes by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference this fall after DPH said repeatedly that it wouldn’t recommend playing amid the pandemic. Youth football has been allowed under the state’s reopening rules since July 6 if allowed by local officials.
The CIAC is going ahead with other lower- and moderate-risk sports.
“As we head into playing sports, nobody is heading into this with the perception that we’re not still playing in a COVID environment,” CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said Wednesday. “There is the potential that kids are going to get COVID. There is the potential other people are still going to get COVID.”
Lungarini said the state has done well in mitigating COVID-19, and the CIAC’s own plan involves screening players for symptoms at practices and educating them about ways to control the spread.
“We do have a lot in place that accounts for that,” Lungarini said, “but we fully understand we’re playing sports, going back to school, at a time where COVID is still with us.”
Pete Paguaga contributed to this report.
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