UPDATE - Trumbull has three coronavirus cases, schools closed until April 20 at least

Just hours after announcing the first Trumbull resident had tested positive for coronavirus, First Selectman Vicki Tesoro broke the news that there had been two more cases.

So far in town, testing has confirmed that the three cases are two males, 31 and 41, and a 50-year-old female.

Tesoro said the news was concerning but not surprising.

“The Town of Trumbull has been working diligently to prepare for this situation. As localized transmission continues throughout Connecticut, we should anticipate more confirmed cases within the town,” Tesoro said in a recorded phone message to residents. “We will continue to communicate with the State Department of Public Health and post daily updates and case counts on our town website.”

Tesoro repeated that preventative measures are more important than ever, including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched (including phones and keyboards.)

“I continue to urge all of our residents to stay home as much as possible to make sure you, your family, and your neighbors are much less likely to be infected by this virus,” she said.

Around town, the Pequonnock Trail remains open for passive recreation, although social distancing guidelines still apply to hikers. All town offices, parks, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and the Tashua Knolls golf course remain closed.

All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close as of 8 p.m. March 23 by Gov. Ned Lamont. Essential businesses include grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants offering take-out and pickup service.

Statewide, Gov. Ned Lamont told media outlets on March 22 that two more state residents had died of coronavirus, bring the total to 10, with 415 cases confirmed, an increase of 88 from Sunday.

About 15 percent of of the 4,500 people tested have had to be hospitalized, and 5 percent have ended up in intensive care, with the average stay there about two weeks, he said. Fifty four are currently hospitalized.

Lamont made the remarks in a mid-afternoon news conference in Hartford, stressing that the number infected seems to double every three or four days.

He said that public schools will be closed until at least April 20, but 60,000 laptop computers have been donated to assist high schools. “We’re not going to make this period a loss for our kids,” he said.

During a 40-minute news conference, he said more university dormitories will be available soon for eventual intermediate-care levels, freeing up space in hospitals. Southern Connecticut State University became the latest institution to offer space in the health crisis.

The governor asked hospitals to increase their capacity by 50 percent over the next four weeks.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, director of infectious diseases for the state Department of Public Health, said that the coronavirus is more virulent than the average seasonal influenza, which kills 300 to 600 patients a year between October and April. So he expects there could be many more COVID-19 deaths than that in the coming months.

“But we’re just at the beginning of this,” Cartter said. “We don’t know for certain. The one thing that continues to go up is the number of hospitalizations. We can’t see it. It’s in the distance, but more cases are coming. More hospitalizations are coming. Remember, this virus does not share our sense of time. I’m actually surprised that Hartford and New Haven County aren’t more impacted.”

Cartter said that at this point, the hospitals that will experience the most strain first, are those in the cities of Bridgeport, Norwalk and Danbury, as well as Greenwich Hospital. Lamont said all state hospitals will likely need federal financial support to weather the pandemic.

Getting large numbers of people away from each other was one of the points of his plan to close non-essential businesses and non-profit agencies after 8 p.m. Monday.

“I can try and dictate as much as I can in the order, but I urge you to use your common sense and do everything you can to stay out of groups large and small, and if you’re over 70, stay at home,” Lamont said. He acknowledged that many towns and cities have closed local parks because of failures by people to keep six feet away from each other. He will ask the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to establish limits at state parks. Locations such as Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden were jammed over the weekend.

“Every town is going to figure this out in their own way,” Lamont said. “The parks aren’t too small. The groups are too tight.”