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New Haven Rolls Back Reopening, Citing COVID-19 Data Gap

School Bus
Recent outbreaks among First Student school bus drivers have been linked to adults gathering with friends and family indoors without masks.

New Haven, Connecticut is returning to a phase 2 Coronavirus opening plan. That means lower capacity for businesses and indoor dining. The city also decided in-person school will no longer resume on November 9th.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker says cases are trending upwards at a faster rate than officials realized. He says a case data gap skewed the infection rates. One issue was with Yale students, whose out-of-state home addresses were not included in New Haven’s case count until this week.

Another issue was that four urgent care centers failed to report Covid results to state public health officials. That meant the city has undercounted cases.

“Even though our numbers right now are 13.9 with the caveat that they are not complete because of DOCS Urgent Care, we are headed towards a higher spike and headed towards the red," Elicker says.

Red is the highest infection rate in the state’s color code alert system. New Haven was in the yellow earlier this week. Elicker says that’s why he will not allow schools to reopen on November 9th.

“We should follow what we have been saying all along: that when cases are low, we can go back to school. But when cases are high, we need to make sure that we dial back and go back to remote learning.”

About 125 special needs students will be allowed to continue some form of in-school learning.

Elicker says recent outbreaks among school bus drivers have been linked to adults gathering with friends and family indoors without masks. He asks everyone to only gather with the people they live with to help keep cases down. 

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.