There were 29 COVID-19 deaths reported since Friday, bringing the death toll to 7,651; hospitalizations decreased by 34 to total 417, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
Residents testing positive for the virus totaled 282,626, an increase of 2,680 since Friday’s report. The state reported 6,787,598 tests completed, up 114,157. The state’s positivity rate is 2.35%
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.
COVID Vaccines – Update
Today (March 1), residents 55 to 64 can register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This age group joins residents 65 and older who have been registering and receiving the vaccine for several weeks.
Residents age 45 to 54 will be eligible to register as of March 22; followed by residents age 35 to 44 on April 12; and residents age 16 to 34 on May 3.
In addition to age-based eligibility, pre-K through Grade 12 school staff, teachers, and professional childcare providers will start receiving the vaccine on March 1 at dedicated clinics set up for those specific professionals.
You can register for an appointment at:
• Yale New Haven Health: You can register for your vaccination at this link: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine.aspx
• Hartford HealthCare at https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine/locations
• A list of participating providers is available at ct.gov/covidvaccine.
You can register in advance at CVS.com, or on the CVS app, or by calling 800-746-7287. Walgreens said appointments can be made at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine.
Starting this week, three vaccines will be available now that the FDA has approved emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The state expects to receive about 30,000 doses of the J&J vaccine this week. The state is already administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which require two doses.
As of March, 627,788 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 366,135 second doses administered, for a total of 963,943 vaccines. Connecticut is ranked in to 5 in the nation for people 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/
But DPH reported that disparities continue to exist in COVID-19 vaccine distribution across racial lines, with Black populations lagging behind white and Hispanic populations. The data, as of Feb. 25, show that 39% of white residents 65 and older have received the vaccine compared to 27% of Latinos, 26% of Asians and 21% of Blacks.
There is 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.
CDC Update On Mask Wearing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that you fit your mask more tightly to your face or wear a surgical mask AND a cloth mask. The recommendation was issued based on recent research showing that masks greatly reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
New Strain – Update
As of Feb. 26, the number of cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 is 63.
On Feb. 15, DPH announced that the B.1.351 variant of the COVID-19 virus, the so-called “South African” variant, has been detected in a Connecticut patient who was hospitalized out-of-state. The resident is from Fairfield County and is between the ages of 60-70.
Updated: State Restrictions
As of March 19, the indoor capacity at private, social & recreational events will be increased to 50% capacity and capped at 100 people. Outdoor events can have up to 200 people.
For now, the other restrictions put in place on Feb. 1 remain:
• Restaurants can now stay open until 11 p.m. but are still limited to 50% capacity indoors; maximum of 8 people per table.
• Event venues are still limited to 25 indoors, 50 outdoors.
• Performing arts and movie theaters maximum capacity 100 people.
• Personal services, such as hairdressers and barber shops, remain at 75% capacity.
• Religious gatherings must now adhere to a 50% capacity, but the cap on attendees is removed.
DPH issued a statewide public health advisory urging residents to limit any non-essential trips outside the home between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in order to reduce the risk of the transmissions of the virus. Essential workers are exempt from the advisory.
$10,000 Fine For Violating COVID Rules
Businesses that violate COVID restrictions can be fined $10,000 per violation, per Gov. Lamont. The fines can be issued by local health directors or other municipal employees.
Other penalties that remain in effect include:
• $100 for not wearing a mask in public;
• $500 for organizing a gathering exceeding recommended size limits;
• $250 for attending an event that exceeds recommended size limits.
The state rolled out its new contact tracing app. You can learn about it and sign up here: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/covidalertCT/homepage
Community Hot Spots
Hotspot map shows improvement again this week with 116 municipalities designated as COVID-19 “hotspot communities” (shaded in red on map).
For assisted living facilities, there were no deaths reported for the week of Feb. 17-23. You can view the full report here.
Starting Nov. 1, nursing homes, assisted living and managed care facilities must test staff on a weekly basis, DPH ordered. This is the same policy that the state had in place in the spring and later changed.
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/
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
Traveler Quarantine Measures – Revised
Effective Dec. 19, travelers from “hot spot” states must self-quarantine for 10 days, instead of 14, OR produce a negative COVID-19 test result. They must also complete a form upon entry to Connecticut. The form asks for their name, date of birth, state of origin, how long they will stay in the state 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 remain exempt from these requirements.
Also exempt is a traveler who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days prior of arrival to the state and has recovered and submitted a negative test result to the commissioner of public health.
There have been no changes to the travel advisory list since December 2020. New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island are exempt from the list because of the “interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between the states,” the governor said recently.
Rules For Gyms, Fitness Centers
On Nov. 20, the governor signed an executive order that includes requiring patrons at gyms and fitness centers to wear masks, “with no exceptions.”
Below are the rules for fitness centers. Each facility is issuing its own rules, based on the guidelines:
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.
• 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.
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:
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/
Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.
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.