First Omicron variant found in Hamden; mask mandate reissued


Zack Hochberg

The town of Hamden reinstated its indoor mask mandate on Saturday, Dec. 11 after receiving notification of a positive test for the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Following consultation with the Quinnipiac Valley Health District, Mayor Lauren Garrett signed an executive order to reinstate the mandate for all indoor spaces.

According to an announcement rom the town, “Masks will be required in any indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.”

Additionally, with the amount of COVID-19 cases increasing, Quinnipiac University has announced that all students will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before returning from winter break in January.

The school believed that with everybody going home to multiple regions of the country for break and then coming back, testing would help the school come back to classes as covid-free as possible.

“Well, we thought long and hard about it… as we do every day about how to keep our campus as safe and healthy as possible and with the numbers of cases in Connecticut going up quite dramatically over the last month that’s not driven by Omicron, that’s been driven by Delta and unvaccinated population,” said Rich Hill, who is a Director of the Institute for Global Public Health as well as a medical sciences professor at the Quinnipiac.

Quinnipiac stated that PCR tests are preferred; however, rapid tests will also be accepted as the school tries to make fulfilling the testing requirement as easy as possible. gyfc tests will not be accepted.

“It’s a good idea. We all want to be able to go out and have fun and be in-person for classes so just having that safety net of testing before we come back can’t hurt,” said James Ewing, a second-year business major.

New Haven County had a “high” level of coronavirus transmission as of Dec. 13, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 3,857 recorded cases in the area between Dec. 6 to Dec.12, which is 175.5%higher than the previous seven days.

As of Dec. 12, 72.3% of New Haven County has been fully-vaccinated, according to the CDC.

“Getting those vaccination rates up, not just within our student body but with the people that live in the surrounding area is really important,” said Emily Toews, a third-year nursing major.

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public if they live in an area with “substantial” or “high” transmission levels. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated are urged to wear masks in those settings, regardless of transmission level.