Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 386,182 up 394 since yesterday; the positivity rate is 2.83%, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
The state reported 10,930,079 COVID tests completed, up 13,932. Hospitalizations declined by 15 to total 294 since yesterday. Of the 294 hospitalized – 74.8% – are not fully vaccinated. The state reported 31 deaths since Sept. 9, bringing the death total to 8,447. COVID deaths are reported weekly on Thursdays.
For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
Go here for the most up-to-date state information.
FDA Advisors Recommend Pfizer Booster Shot For People 65 And Older
On Friday (Sept. 17), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted to recommend that people, 65 years of age and older, receive a booster shot six months after completing the Pfizer 2-shot series. A booster shot was also recommended for individuals at high risk of severe COVID-19.
The state will continue to work with federal partners, vaccine providers and other stakeholders to ensure the state is ready to provide boosters when the recommendations are finalized, DPH said in a press release. The state anticipates a final vote by the FDA as early as Sept. 23 and then booster shots would be available Sept. 24.
The FDA panel will review data on booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in the weeks ahead.
Is It Safe To Attend A Football Game?
With football season starting on the professional, college and high school levels, Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief clinical officer, Yale New Haven Health, was asked if it is safe to attend a game.
His response: There are things you can do to put in place layers of protection. They include: be fully vaccinated, practice good-sense hygiene precautions, and wear a mask. He suggested you might skip the food and drink during the game to keep your mask on for added protection.
Deadline Approaching For State Employees, Childcare And School Staff To Be Vaccinated
State employees, K-12 teachers and staff, and childcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 27, Gov. Ned Lamont announced last month.
The state will consider religious and medical exemptions. If an employee does not get vaccinated, the worker will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing.
The policy, negotiated with unions representing state workers, covers executive and judicial branch employees. The legislative branch is reviewing its options.
You can read the governor’s executive order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-13D.pdf
Masks Required In Schools, Governor Says
Indoor masking is required in all schools, the governor said last month.
The masking requirement is for all students in grades kindergarten through 12. Lamont said he hopes that the requirement will only last a month or so, “but time will tell.”
Municipalities Can Impose Mask Requirements
The governor signed an executive order allowing municipal leaders to impose masking indoors in public places, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport and New Haven all imposed mask mandates recently. (There is no master list of all community-imposed mask mandates so check local websites.)
The emergency order, Executive Order No. 13A, means that municipal leaders will now have the option of moving beyond the minimum requirements in the statewide policy on masks implemented in May. The statewide policy, which remains in effect and has not changed, is as follows, according to the governor’s press release:
• Unvaccinated people must wear masks while in indoor public places.
• Mask-wearing is required – regardless of vaccination status – in health care facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools and child care centers.
• Masks are not required outdoors.
• Businesses, private property owners, and state and local government offices may require masks to be worn by everyone inside of their facilities.
The governor, in the press release, said a statewide masking order is not necessary because many municipalities have high vaccination rates.
Residents With Compromised Immune Systems Can Get A Third Dose Now
Recipients of solid organ transplants and others with moderate or severe compromised immune systems – who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines – are eligible for a third vaccine dose, DPH said. This in line with guidelines approved by the CDC. The CDC’s latest guidance on the third dose does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
DPH will work with providers to ensure that those who need a third dose receive it, the governor said in a Saturday press release.
People are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised if they are/have:
• Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
• Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
• Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
• Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
• Advanced or untreated HIV infection
• Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Individuals who meet the criteria for an additional vaccine dose can make an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic at any COVID vaccine provider location, the press release said. If you are unsure if you are eligible contact your doctor, DPH said.
If you are an immunocompromised patient you can schedule your appointment for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine by going to Yale New Haven Hospital website: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/Vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine
If you are a patient in the Hartford HealthCare system you can make an appointment for a shot here: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine/covid-vaccine-booster
COVID-19 Variant Cases
On Sept. 16, the state reported that the number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) totaled 3,394. For the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), the state reported 3,609 cases. You can track the variants here: https://covidtrackerct.com/
On variants, read the CDC report here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html
COVID-19 Vaccine Info/Where To Get A Shot?
To schedule a vaccine call 211, the helpline run by United Way.
Text 438829 and put in your zip code to get a list of locations offering COVID vaccines near you.
Vaccine eligibility is now open to everyone 12 and older and there are many appointments available statewide.
Twelve- to 17-year-olds are reminded that Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for those ages by the FDA.
As of Sept. 16, 2,497,600 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 2,301,938 people are fully vaccinated. As of Sept. 16, about 95% of people age 65 and older are fully vaccinated and 89% of those aged 55-64 are vaccinated. Also, 80% of those 45-54; 79% of those 35-44; 71% of 25-34; 67% of 18-24; 77% of 16-17 and 67% of those 12-15 are fully vaccinated.
The state has added a map outlining distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by community. View it here: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/CoVP-COVID-Vaccine-Distribution-Data/bhcd-4mnv/
There are no out-of-pocket costs for those insured in Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant fully-insured plans and all self-funded plans, the state’s insurance commissioner said earlier this year.
In August, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. The Pfizer vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty and is approved for those age 16 and older. Here is the FDA announcement: https://www.fda.gov/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/comirnaty-and-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine
Children age 12-15 are eligible for vaccine shots under the FDA’s emergency use.
The Moderna vaccine is still under FDA review for full approval.
Need A COVID 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/
Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.
Community Hot Spots
84 community “hotspots” in red in this week’s COVID-19 map.
The CDC is also tracking COVID transmission by county. The designations include high, substantial and low are vary day-to-day. To view the CDC’s map on hot spot states and counties, click here.
Lamont Extends Deadline For Long-Term Care Staff To Be Vaccinated
Long-term care staff must receive their first vaccine dose by Sept. 27, the governor announced Friday (Sept. 3), in extending his initial deadline by three weeks.
The $20,000-a-day civil penalty for failure of long-term facilities to comply with the order remains.
In addition to nursing homes, the governor’s order covers residential care homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, managed residential communities and chronic disease hospitals.
You can read the governor’s new order here.
Assisted living facilities are no longer required to report to DPH. The last report with no new deaths was issued for the week of June 30-July 7. You can view the full report here.
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. 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
Mental Health Services Call 211
State mental health services and programs are available by calling 211 for assistance.
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/
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a forecasting model of COVID-19 cases here.