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Story By John Murray

The grim news out of Waterbury continued yesterday with an additional 142 city residents testing positive for COVID-19. In the past six days 1102 Waterburians have tested COVID positive, almost all believed to have been from the Delta variant. 68 residents are hospitalized. We’re less than halfway through the month and already there have been 1700 COVID positive tests in Waterbury, on track for a record durring the pandemic.

Waterbury is on fire, and city leaders implored residents to get vaccinateed and boosted against the virus.

During a press conference at the City’s Vaccination Clinic at 910 Wolcott Street (Next to Walmart), Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Mayor Neil O’Leary, Waterbury Director of Health Aisling McGuckin (pictured here), Senator Joan Hartley and State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr. all shared data and insights to try and reach the 46% of city residents not heeding the call of common good..

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz uncorked some sobering statistics at the press conference. “For the week beginning November 21 unvaccinated people have four and a half times greater risk of testing positive for COVID 19 compared to all the vaccinated people,” she said. “And unvaccinated people had a 31-times greater risk of dying from COVID 19. So it’s a very simple proposition. If you want to survive this pandemic, please get vaccinated and boosted.”

Bysiewicz said that of the 525 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut that 76% of those people are not vaccinated.

“We are redoubling our efforts,” she said, “particularly with socially vulnerable communities. In Waterbury, as of December 9th, 63% of residents have received an initial vaccine, but only 56.6% are fully vaccinated. So we’re just 12 days away. Christmas, and New Year’s is approaching, and I know so many people want to spend time with their family and their friends. So it’s important that we do that as safely as possible.”

Waterbury Health Director Aisling McGuckin said, “I want to reassure everyone that getting a booster is the best protection that you can take to combat any variants that come down the pike. Now it’s Omigron, but there’s bound to be additional ones coming forth after that.”

Waterbury Health Director Aisling McGuckin

McGuckin encouraged parents to get their kids vaccinated. “We’re doing vaccines age five and a half here at this location,” she said. “Seven days a week you can come in. I brought my two children to get vaccinated, and I’m going to be bringing my third one as soon as they turn five.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said the city is doing better than most big cities getting its population vaccinated, “be we can be doing much better,” he said. “It’s very disturbing to me that we can’t get more people vaccinated. And boosted.”

State Representative Geradlo Reyes Jr. delivered messages in both English and Spanish. “I received my booster shot about three weeks ago,” he said. “I’m in the community and because I’m out in the open on a daily basis, I made sure to follow all the CDC guidelines. I value you, and it’s important for you to value me. If you have received your two shots, please get your booster. It is for the betterment of your community, for the state of Connecticut, and the nation as a whole.”

State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr. delivered a message in Spanish to the press.

The COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended for ages 16 and up that received their second dose of Pfizer six months ago or more, and for all adults 18 and older who received their first dose of Johnson & Johnson or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna six months ago or more.

Lt. Governor Bysiewicz concluded the press conference with, “I know everybody’s getting COVID fatigue,” she said. “But the only way that we are going to get rid of COVID and all of the mutations and the variances is to limit the number of hosts that are out there, and if you are not fully vaccinated, you are the host for the variant.”