There were 12 new COVID-19 deaths reported since Friday, bringing the death toll to 4,554. Hospitalizations increased by 11 to total 195, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
Residents testing positive for the virus total 64,021 an increase of 1,191 since Friday’s report. The state reported 2,037,017 tests completed, up 71,905. The state’s positivity rate is 1.7%
From Sept. 27-Oct. 10, people aged 20-29 had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases, followed by people aged 30-39, the data show.
For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
Phase 3 Re-opening + 11 Community Hot Spots
The third phase of the state’s re-opening began on Thursday (Oct. 8). Restaurants are allowed to go up to 75% capacity. Indoor gatherings at private residences now allow 50 people, and private outdoor gatherings permit 150 attendees. Outdoor entertainment venues can host up to 50% capacity, and indoor entertainment venues capacity limit is 50%. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed. Barber shops, hair salons and libraries are allowed to have 75% capacity under the Phase Three rules. Churches and places of worship are allowed to have 50% capacity, with a cap of 200 people.
For the week of Oct. 7-13, there were 5 new deaths in nursing homes, and 93 new cases reported, including 35 new cases at the Avon Health Center in Avon. Among nursing home staff, for the week of Oct. 7-13, there were no staff deaths reported for the eighth week in a row. New cases among staff totaled 57. See the full report here.
For assisted living facilities, there were 2 new deaths reported for the week of Oct. 7-13. You can view the full report here.
In September, C-HIT reported on plummeting occupancy rates in nursing homes. You can read our report here: http://c-hit.org/2020/09/16/pandemic-deals-another-blow-to-nursing-homes-plummeting-occupancy/
This week, a COVID outbreak of at least 50 cases was reported at two Avon facilities, The Residence at Brookside, which is an assisted living facility and Avon Health Care, a nursing home. Two deaths were reported.
In September, DPH ordered the closure of Three Rivers Healthcare Center in Norwich. The order came weeks after an infection-control inspection by DPH found the facility to be in “immediate jeopardy,” meaning the violations were serious enough to risk immediate harm to residents. The 60 residents were moved to other nursing homes, according to a report in the New London Day.
Mathematica Nursing Home Report
An examination of the state’s response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities recently found that state officials were so focused on the virus’s potential impact on hospitals that they largely neglected guidance from nursing home officials early in the pandemic.
“Early planning and response efforts focused on hospital capacity, with nursing homes viewed primarily as a backstop to alleviate high demand for acute care beds,” the report found.
The report, prepared by Mathematica Inc. at the request of the state, looked at the state’s response as the coronavirus tore through nursing homes in the spring and early summer. According to the report, 72% of the state’s 4,432 deaths as of July 30, 2020, were residents of long-term care facilities.
Mathematica, working with the UConn Center on Aging, interviewed 132 people from July 27 to Sept. 10, including state agency staff, facility administrators, trade association representatives, labor representatives, legislators, direct care staff working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, family members of residents, and advocacy groups.
Among the report’s recommendations:
- Place full-time infection control experts in nursing homes.
- Increase minimum required staffing levels.
- Ensure that all nursing home staff have access to appropriate PPE.
- Explore ways to reduce duplicate case reporting to reduce the risk of data errors.
Read the full report here.
New Visitation Policy At Nursing Homes
Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes as long as there has been no new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing, DPH announced on Sept. 28. Indoor visits will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among a resident or staff, DPH said in its order.
DPH said that facilities can limit the number of visitors per resident and can limit visitor movement inside facilities. You can read DPH’s order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/20200925-DPH-Order-rescinding-restrictions-on-visitors-in-nursing-homes-residential-care-homes-and-c.pdf
New Traveler Quarantine Measures – Updated
Travelers from “hot spot” states must self-quarantine for 14 days OR produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to arrival. They must also 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. Essential workers traveling on business will remain exempt from these requirements.
As of Oct. 13, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia were added to the list and no states or territories removed.
Those above the threshold are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the territory of Guam.
Fines for Violating Limits on Gathering Sizes, Failure to Wear Masks
On Sept. 14, the governor outlined new fines for those who fail to wear a mask in public, and for those who violate the size limits on indoor and outdoor events:
• There will be a $100 fine for not wearing a mask in public;
• A $500 fine for organizing a gathering exceeding recommended size limits;
• And a $250 fine for attending an event that exceeds recommended size limits.
Lamont said businesses will be responsible for their employees, and individuals will be responsible for their own actions.
Rules For Gyms, Fitness Centers
Below are the rules for fitness centers. Each facility is issuing its own rules, based on the guidelines:
Houses of worship are now allowed to have indoor services at 50% capacity, or no more than 100 people.
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:
• 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.
You can file a complaint against a business that you feel is in violation of COVID-19 safety rules here.
Go here for the most up-to-date state information.
Below are the guidelines used by the state to safely reopen schools for in-person learning.
Information is available here.
The state released a more detailed plan on reopening in late June. You can read the 50-page plan here: https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2020/Adapt-Advance-Achieve
Each district designed their own 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.
COVID Vaccine Preliminary Plan
On Friday (Oct. 17), the state sent a preliminary plan for distribution of an approved COVID vaccine to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The preliminary plan outlines a framework for who would be first in line for the vaccine: health care workers who are at risk of COVID exposure, some essential workers and people who are at high-risk of becoming severely ill if they contract the virus. Read the Hartford Courant’s story here.
The governor’s Vaccine Advisory Group, co-chaired by Dr. Reginard Eadie, president Trinity Health of New England and Dr. Diedre Gifford, acting commissioner of DPH, will fine tune the plan, set priorities for distribution of the vaccine and communicate information about the vaccine to state residents.
Mental Health Services
On Aug. 27, the state provided information on services available to state residents who are feeling stressed during the pandemic. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, outlined the services and programs that are available to help. Below is a chart of some services provided:
Housing And Rental Assistance
On Sept. 30, Lamont extended the prohibition on evictions to the end of the year and doubled the rental assistance relief program from $20 million to $40 million. The program provides up to $4,000 to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applications. The assistance program is funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund and provides payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applicants. Interested tenants can learn more on the state Department of Housing website or by calling 1-860-785-3111 during regular business hours.
NEED A TEST?
A number of hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers are offering COVID-19 testing. If you need a test go to 211.ct.org to find a location near you. https://www.211ct.org/
After receiving criticism from governors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week rolled back its new guidelines on who should be tested for COVID-19. The CDC is now saying that people who come into contact with confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients could be tested, even if they do not show symptoms of the virus. Earlier this week, the CDC had recommended that testing was not necessary for people who have been exposed to the virus but have no symptoms.
Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.
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 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.
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.