There were 21 new COVID-19 deaths reported since Friday, bringing the death toll to 7,725; hospitalizations decreased by 40 to total 388, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
Residents testing positive for the virus totaled 287,396, an increase of 2,066 since Friday’s report. The state reported 6,997,922 tests completed, up 78,634. The state’s positivity rate is 2.63%
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
As of March 1, residents 55 to 64 are eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. This age group joins residents 65 and older who have been 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 have started to receive the vaccine 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
Yale is offering pop-up clinics for residents of New Haven and some area towns. You can schedule an appointment by calling: 833-275-9644.
• 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.
Three vaccines are available now that the FDA has approved emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The state is already administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which require two doses.
As of March 8, 773,280 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 389,402 second doses administered, for a total of 1,162,682 vaccines.
According to DPH, 75% of the state’s population aged 75 and older have received their vaccinations; 64% of those aged 65-74; and 255% of those aged 55 and older. The state expects to administer 137,000 first doses this week, according to DPH.
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.
COVID-19 Variant Cases
On March 8, the state reported its first death from a COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, according to DPH. The state currently has 81 confirmed cases of that variant, known as the U.K. variant. DPH also reported the state has two confirmed cases of the B.1.351 variant, also known as the South African variant.
CDC: When You Are Fully Vaccinated
Today (March 8) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. They can:
• Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without a mask;
• Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from 1 other household without a mask;
• If you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19 you do not need to quarantine or get tested unless you have symptoms.
For more info on the guidelines go here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html
State Restrictions Lifted As Of March 19
On Thursday (March 4), Gov. Ned Lamont announced a sweeping reopening of businesses, including lifting capacity limits, as of March 19. All entities must continue to enforce mask wearing, spacing and cleaning protocols.
As of March 19:
• Restaurants can fully open, but must maintain 6-foot spacing and a limit of 8 people per table. The 11 p.m. curfew remains in effect.
• Other entities where restrictions will be lifted include: gyms, fitness centers, libraries, museums and aquariums, hairdressers and barber shops and houses of worship.
• Performing arts centers and movie theaters will continue at 50% capacity, a maximum of 100 people.
• Wedding halls will be limited to 100 people indoors and 200 outside. Private residential gatherings will be limited to 25 people inside and 100 outside.
• Bars will remain closed.
As of Monday, March 29:
• Capacity limits on early childhood classes will increase from 16 to 20.
As of Friday, April 2:
• Outdoor amusement parks can open.
• Outdoor event venues can increase to a 50% capacity, capped at 10,000 people.
• Indoor stadiums can open at 10% capacity.
• Summer camps and summer festivals are advised to begin the planning stages to open for the upcoming season.
Travel Advisory: Under the reopening plan, the state is lifting the mandate that a person traveling out of state must quarantine for 10-days or present a negative COVID-19 test. The state advises that when traveling use precautions: mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.
$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 104 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. 24 to March 2. 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
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.