There were 5 new COVID-19 deaths reported, for a total of 4,437, and hospitalizations declined by 13 to total 56 since Friday, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).
Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 50,062 – up 252. The state’s positivity rate for the virus remains at one of the lowest in the country and for the last month has hovered just below and above 1%.
The state reported 827,213 tests completed, up 35,173.
For the week of July 19-25, people aged 10-19 had the highest number of cases and the highest rate of infection followed by people age 20-29.
At Monday’s (Aug. 3) briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that Connecticut “is in a good place,” and that it is not inevitable that coronavirus cases will increase like they have in other parts of the country. Mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, have all helped to control the virus outbreaks, Fauci said.
On opening schools, Fauci encouraged in-school learning. “If the risk is very low, you might try to see if you can open the schools. And if you can’t, then you go to the other models.” He said that the state has a good risk-benefit analysis in place to help make decisions on reopening schools.
Gov. Ned Lamont, in answering a question from the press, said that he is considering a crackdown on people who defy mask-wearing and social distancing. “We’re looking at the possibility of fines and other ways we can hold people accountable, especially … when they openly flout it.” Here is ctnewsjunkie.com’s story on today’s briefing.
Last week the governor and Department of Public Health (DPH) Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford said that they are concerned with recent the coronavirus outbreak clusters among young people. In a press release, they said that stats show 18 to 29-year-olds represent “substantial numbers of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.”
Gifford said that the safest way to socialize is outdoors, in small groups and keep you mask with you.
For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
New Traveler Quarantine Measures – Updated
The governor said that 5,000 forms from travelers from “hot spots” states had been filled out since he issued an executive order requiring the notification. Most of the out-of-state travelers were from Florida.
Travelers from “hot spot” states must complete a form upon entry to CT. The form asks for their name, date of birth, state of origin, how long they will stay in CT and where they will be staying. The form also asks for contact information. Forms are available at ct.gov/travelform.
Under the executive order, failure to comply with the mandatory order could result in a $1,000 penalty imposed by the Department of Public Health (DPH).
As of Tuesday (Aug. 4), Rhode Island was added to the travel quarantine list, and Delaware and D.C. were removed. In late June, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey announced travel advisories. Individuals coming from states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average must self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Connecticut.
The states above the threshold are Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Puerto Rico is also on the list.
Schools To Reopen In The Fall
On Monday (July 27), the governor said that school districts will be given the given the option to have all students report to school or a hybrid model, mixing online and in-school classes. CTMirror.org has more on today’s press briefing.
Public schools that do reopen in the fall must have safety measures in place, including mask-wearing by all students, teachers and school staff, Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said recently.
On Monday, (June 29) the state released a more detailed plan on reopening. You can read the 50-page plan here: https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2020/Adapt-Advance-Achieve
Each district will come up with its reopen plan. The state recommendations include:
• Grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
• Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.
• Reviewing building space and making use of available rooms, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.
You can read the initial state guidelines here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/COVID-19/Reopening_Slides.pdf
New Reporting On Nursing Home Residents, Staff
For the week of July 22-28, deaths in nursing homes totaled 4. Overall, 2,848 nursing homes residents have died, representing 55% of all COVID-19 deaths.
Among nursing home staff, for the week of July 22-28, there were no staff deaths reported and but new cases totaled 14.
For assisted living facilities, there were no new deaths reported. Deaths total 379.
On June 25, the state announced a change in the way it disseminates information on nursing home cases and deaths, providing only a week’s worth of data.
Previous reports on COVID-19 in nursing homes had the cumulative number of resident cases and deaths. These reports use data submitted by facilities to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN),
On July 7, the governor said that the firm Mathematica Policy Research has been selected to conduct an independent, third-party review of the response to COVID-19 within the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Mathematica, hired under a $450,000 contract, is expected to provide the state with a preliminary report in mid-August and a final report of its findings by the end of September. The analysis will be made available to the public, Lamont said.
On Monday (July 20), DPH reported that 90 individuals, mostly nursing home residents, received false positive test results for COVID-19. The flaw in testing was discovered by the state’s public health laboratory for people tested between June 15-July 17. The people involved will be retested. Also, the state must determine if any of the nursing home residents might have contracted coronavirus or died from the virus after being placed with residents who have the virus.
You can read C-HIT’s latest story on nursing homes with no COVID-19 cases here.
What’s Open Outdoors
The state has set-up a new website What’s Open Outdoors where you can check on the status of state beaches and state parks. Camping is now allowed at state parks. Here’s the link to the website: https://portal.ct.gov/whatsopenoutdoors
On July 17, Katie S. Dykes, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), announced that 8 additional inland parks with swimming will open. The list: Wharton Brook in Wallingford, Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth, Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent, Day Pond State Park in Colchester, Gay City State Park in Hebron, Black Rock State Park in Watertown, Hopeville Pond State Park in Griswold and Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury. On July 25, two more were added to the list, Burr Pond State Park and Mount Tom State Park.
On Wednesday (July 29), the state announced the launch of Business.CT.Gov – a website where entrepreneurs can easily find information and create a checklist with everything required to start up or manage a business in the state. The aim is to make it easier to do business, support or manage a business. https://business.ct.gov/
Department of Motor Vehicles, Now Partially Open
At Tuesday’s (June 23) briefing, Sibongile Magubane, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, announced that DMV offices in Waterbury, Hamden, Enfield and Bridgeport, are now partially open for appointments for new transactions. A consumer can set up an appointment online, drive to DMV and wait in a car to be called inside. DMV encourages consumers to renew registrations online. Driving tests for new drivers are resuming. For information go here: https://portal.ct.gov/DMV
Pausing Phase 3
The governor said that Phase 3 of the state’s re-opening plan “is taking a pause” and will not start as scheduled on July 20. That means that bars will remain closed, capacity inside restaurants will remain at 50% and outdoor gatherings will remain at 100 and inside gatherings at 25 “for the foreseeable future.”
Housing And Rental Assistance
On Monday, (June 29) Lamont unveiled a $33 million emergency rental and housing assistance program that includes $10 million for rental assistance administered by the state Department of Housing. The plan prohibits evictions through the end of August. For details go here: https://portal.ct.gov/doh
Phase Two Re-Opening
On June 17, the second phase of the state’s re-opening began. Restaurants are now providing indoor dining, with restrictions, in addition to already providing outdoor dining, curbside pickup and delivery services.
Other entities that opened this week with guidelines include: amusement parks, hotels/lodging, indoor museums, zoos and aquariums, bowling lanes and move theaters and other indoor recreation sites, libraries, outdoor events, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and spas and fitness facilities. Barber shops and hair salons are now open.
New guidelines also permit private (in home) gatherings of up to 25 indoors and 100 outdoors.
Below are the rules for fitness centers. Each facility is issuing its own rules, based on the guidelines:
Starting in July, high schools will be allowed to host outdoor graduations, with restrictions. Each school district can come up with their own plan for graduation.
Houses of worship are now allowed to have indoor services at 25% capacity, or no more than 100 people. Earlier guidelines recommended holding services outside at a safe distance.
Today (July 6,) summer school programs can begin. (Schools remain closed for the remainder of the year.) Overnight camps are prohibited but day camps can operate beginning Monday (June 22).
Below are guidelines for libraries:
The governor’s Reopen Connecticut report outlines the steps being taken to ensure a safe reopening of the state, including a ramp up of testing, sufficient contact tracing and an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.
The guidelines for businesses are here:
• Capacity limit of 50% for most businesses that reopen.
• Strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in all settings.
• Those who can work from home should continue to do so.
• Those in high-risk groups (co-morbidities) and those over the age of 65 should continue to stay safe and stay home.
• Face masks should continue to be worn in public at all times.
• Social gatherings will be restricted in accordance to the governor’s order.”
You can file a complaint against a business that you feel is in violation of COVID-19 safety rules here: https://appengine.egov.com/apps/ct/COVID-19/Reopen-CT-Business-Complaint-Form
Go here for the most up-to-date state information.
State Police Accountability And Transparency
Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order to provide more accountability and transparency in the State Police. The order bans the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, arm-bar control holds, or any other tactics that restrict oxygen or blood flow to the head or neck; directs the State Police to appoint and train community trust liaisons in each troop and to build community relationships in those sectors; bans the purchase of military-style equipment; and requires every trooper to wear a body camera and for vehicles to have dashboard cameras. You can read the governor’s order here.
The governor, in working with legislative leaders, wants to pass similar rules for local police departments during the upcoming special legislative session. Read more about the governor’s order on ctnewsjunkie.com.
State Employees To Be Tested
On June 18 Lamont announced that employees of five state agencies — the departments of Correction, Veterans Affairs, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Children and Families, and Developmental Services — will receive mandatory COVID-19 testing. These state employees, the governor’s release said, have frequent contact with people in congregate settings, hospitals and nursing homes.
NEED A TEST? & OTHER INFO:
To increase testing capacity, the governor recently signed an executive order suspending the requirement that a person needs a referral from a doctor or other licensed practitioner to get a COVID-19 test. Each of the state’s COVID-19 testing sites require appointments to be made in advance. There is no cost to be tested. To find a testing location click here.
Lamont said he wants the state to conduct 42,000 tests per week through the end of July. The goal is 100,000 tests per week by August.
CVS has a number of testing sites statewide. For information and to register in advance for a test go to cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid19.
You can find Hartford HealthCare testing locations here. The website also gives you wait times for each site. https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/coronavirus/testing.
Hartford HealthCare announced a visiting plan with restrictions at all its locations. For information: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/coronavirus/visitor-restrictions
Wear A Mask
Residents are still required to wear cloth face coverings, or some type of mask, in public when unable to maintain a safe social distance of about 6 feet. The covering needs to shield the mouth and nose. Individuals are required to use cloth face coverings in taxis, livery, ride-sharing services, buses, or while in a transit stop or waiting area. Read the governor’s order here.
Financial Help For Undocumented Families
The state will be giving $2.5 million to about 2,500 undocumented families to help cover the cost of rent, the governor announced recently.
The funding will be supplemented by $1 million from 4-CT, a philanthropic organization created to provide emergency funds during the pandemic. The program is designed to provide rental assistance to people who are ineligible for similar aid by the federal CARES Act. The state Department of Housing will administer the program, which is under development.
There are approximately 140,000 undocumented people living in Connecticut, making up 3.8% of the population and representing 4.9% of the workforce, according to the governor’s press release. Approximately 190,000 people, including 60,000 children, live in households where there is at least one undocumented person, the press release said.
Mental Health Services
Feeling anxious or depressed? You can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (NAMI-CT) hotline at 860.882.0236. Workers are available to talk live, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
NAMI Connecticut offers more than 70 FREE, confidential support groups across the state that are peer-led. They are facilitated by people who have experience with mental health issues. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the support groups have moved online: https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/
A virtual Family Support Group is held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; visit https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/ for details.
The World Health Organization has information here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
John Hopkins University & Medicine’s experts in global public health and infectious diseases has compiled a website to help advance the understanding of COVID-19. View the website, which includes an interactive map of cases worldwide: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommends calling your doctor.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a forecasting model of COVID-19 cases here.