Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Health and Fitness

Anthem Individual Rates to Rise 2.4%, ConnectiCare’s 8.5%

By Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

Premiums for the 55,000 people who buy Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans through the state’s individual market will rise by an average of 2.4 percent next year, while ConnectiCare Insurance Company’s 34,400 customers will see an average rate hike of 8.5 percent.

Both companies sought higher increases, but the Connecticut Insurance Department deemed their proposed rates excessive and required the companies to revise their proposals.

Similarly, Golden Rule, which covers 3,414 people, sought an 18.5 percent rate hike but, after revising it based on the regulator’s findings, will instead raise rates by 1.1 percent.

The requests by Anthem, ConnectiCare and Golden Rule were subject to a July public hearing.

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West Nile in Norwalk, ‘Matter of Time’ Here

By James Lomuscio

Although no mosquitoes in Westport of Weston have tested positive for West Nile Virus, “it is only a matter of time” since the virus has shown up in Norwalk and 14 other parts of the state, Mark A.R. Cooper, director of health for the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), said today. WestportNow.com Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: take precautions. File photo

“It is only a matter of time before mosquitoes become positive for the virus in Westport,” said Cooper. “It happens every year around this time.

“Therefore, it is time to start advising citizens to take precautions against mosquito bites,” he added.

According to recent reports from the New Haven-based Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, “which has traps set up all over the state, including Westport,” said Cooper, 15 towns have trapped mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus.

Westporter Who Led U.N. Ebola Effort: We Are Better Prepared Now

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Anthony B. Banbury, a Westporrter who led the United Nations effort to fight the Ebola outbreak, told the Westport Rotary Club today the World Health Organization (WHO) is now better prepared to handle such epidemic outbreaks. The assistant secretary general, Department of Field Support said the WHO initially was slow to respond to the Ebola outbreak but has now developed crisis management expertise. Banbury, who moved to Westport six years ago, said the focus now must be on early detection of disease outbreaks and getting local people to report them. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Health District Ticks Off Tick Dangers

By James Lomuscio

While the wet summer has caused a proliferation of hungry mosquitoes at dusk and dawn, the West Nile virus is not yet a worry.

WestportNow.com Image
Ticks come in all sizes.  Cdc.gov photo

The big concern right now is deer ticks, and it’s not just Lyme disease, but illnesses far more frightening, according to Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD).

Just back from a workshop at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, WWHD Director of Community Health Monica Wheeler said deer ticks can carry several other organisms and viruses that make Lyme pale in comparison.

One is babesiosis, which can cause malaria-like symptoms of cyclical fevers. Unlike Lyme, for which treatment requires a regimen of the heavy-duty antibiotic doxycycline, babeseosis requires anti-malaria drugs and quinine, as well as antibiotics, Wheeler said.

YMCA Launches New Program for Eighth Graders

Believing that the “tween” years are pivotal in developing healthy and productive lifelong habits, the Westport Weston Family YMCA today announced an eighth grade membership program featuring $15 monthly membership fees.

The program, effective July 1, replaces the Y’s current seventh grade membership initiative. It is available to all rising local eighth graders in Westport and Weston schools, an announcement said. The eligibility period runs through June 30, 2016.

The YMCA being a cause-driven charitable organization, there is a requirement that all eighth grade members complete 10 hours of volunteer service over the course of the year, Y officials said.

Volunteer opportunities may include assistance in the Y’s Kids’ Club, clerical help, small maintenance projects like helping with the annual Camp Mahackeno cleanup, and meeting and greeting YMCA members in the Welcome Center.

For First Report Card, Sound Gets A to F Grades

By James Lomuscio

See full report here

Scientists today issued what they said was the first Long Island Sound health report card, giving the estuary an F in the area of New York’s East River and an A 110 miles away where it stretches to eastern Long Island and Block Island. 

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U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal addresses today’s Long Island Sound report card news conference at Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Westport waters were not specifically graded but local officials speculated they were in the B to B-minus range.

The results from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) were announced at a news conference at the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport with federal, state, and local politicians on hand.

The report card assessment of the 1 million-acre open and coastal waters sea was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science (UMCES).

House Votes to Tighten Religious Exemptions on Vaccines

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Inspired by the California measles outbreak, the Connecticut House voted 86 to 56 today to require parents to annually declare if they are refusing to vaccinate their children on religious grounds.

Legislators debated whether the requirement was a small step toward boosting Connecticut’s already high childhood immunization rate of 98.5 percent — or the bullying of a parental minority.

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Comings & Goings: SoulCycle Officially Opens

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SoulCycle opened for customers on Thursday at its new Westport location, 374 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center, but today was the official opening and ribbon cutting. The popular exercise studio is in the former Jos. A. Bank clothiers location, which moved to Colonial Green. The SoulCycle website describes its activities this way: “SoulCycle doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives. With inspirational instructors, candlelight, epic spaces, and rocking music, riders can let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Cutting the Ribbon

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Cutting the ribbon at today’s grand opening of SoulCycle, 374 Post Road East, were ((l-r) Ben Simpson, asssistant manager, First Selectman Jim Marpe, Ronnie Bencosme, studio manager, and Alyssa Wintergrass, assistant manager. According to Chase Delano, SoulCycle regional marketing manager, the Westport studio is its 41st location in the country and the second site in the state, having opened in Greenwich two years ago. She said there are no memberships—“it’s pay as you go but packages are available.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Learning About Tick-Borne Diseases

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The Westport Library tonight was host to a Tick-borne Diseases Symposium sponsored by the Westport Weston Health District, the Library, the Lyme Disease Alliance, and the Tick-borne Disease Alliance. Pictured is Monica Wheeler of the Westport Weston Health District introducing Kirby Stafford III, chief entomologist, author of the “Tick Management Handbook” and expert on various kinds of ticks and how to keep them under control. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com