Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 687,555, up 2,795 since yesterday; the positivity rate is 10.93%, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
The state reported 14,421,397 COVID tests completed, up 25,568. Hospitalizations declined by 100 since yesterday, bringing the total to 1,346. The state reported 241 deaths since Jan. 13, bringing the death total to 9,683. COVID deaths are reported weekly.
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.
Want A COVID Test?
The state has a comprehensive list of locations for COVID testing here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Covid-19-Knowledge-Base/COVID-19-Testing
Federal Government Offers Free At-Home COVID Tests And N-95 Masks
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests as of today (Jan. 18). The tests are completely free — there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number. Go here to sign up.
Starting next week the Biden administration will distribute 400 million high-quality N95 masks for adults free of charge at pharmacies, community-based health centers and others locations where people have received vaccinations, the Washington Post reports. In recent weeks, public health officials have urged people to wear N95 masks, an important tool to control spread the Omicron virus. More details on the distribution will be made in the coming days.
New Visitation Policy At Nursing Homes
Effective Saturday (Jan. 22), all nursing homes visitors must either show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently tested negative for the virus in order to enter, the governor announced Wednesday night.
In a press release the governor said when entering nursing homes, visitors must:
• Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if eligible, under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster;
• Provide paper or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either a rapid antigen test that was completed within the previous 48 hours or a PCR test that was completed within the previous 72 hours; or
• Take a rapid antigen test at the nursing home.
The governor’s order requires nursing homes to deny entrance to any visitor that tests positive for COVID-19 or who refuses to take a rapid antigen test, according to a press release. But a nursing home cannot deny entrance to any visitor who is willing to take a rapid antigen test but is unable to do so because the nursing home is not able to provide a rapid antigen test.
You can view the governor’s executive order at this link: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-14F.pdf
Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes as long as the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing.
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
State Reports Distributing 3 Million Self-Tests
On Saturday (Jan. 22), Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state has distributed an additional 500,000 COVID-19 self-tests over the last week, bringing the total distributed to 3.6 million.
Governor Mandates Booster Shots For Long-Term Care, Nursing Home And State Hospital Staffs
Lamont on Jan. 6 signed two executive orders (Executive Order No. 14B and Executive Order No. 14C) requiring employees of all long-term care facilities and state hospitals in Connecticut to receive COVID-19 booster shots by Feb. 11, 2022.
The Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) announced that it is implementing a similar mandatory booster shot requirement for all hospital and health system employees and clinical staff statewide.
Long-term care facilities include nursing homes; residential care homes; assisted living services agencies; intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities; managed residential communities; and chronic disease hospitals.
State hospital employees include Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center-South; Whiting Forensic Hospital; John Dempsey Hospital; Connecticut Valley Hospital; and any Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services state-operated facility providing hospital level of care.
For the weeks of Jan. 5-18, there were 58 COVID deaths and 1,616 cases reported in nursing homes among residents. Among nursing home staff, for the weeks of Jan. 5-18, there were no staff deaths reported; new cases among staff totaled 1,850. See the full report here. Nursing home reports are now issued every two weeks.
Assisted living facilities are no longer required to report to DPH.
COVID Tests, Masks Delivered To Schools, Childcare Providers
The state on Jan. 4 distributed 620,000 COVID test kits to public and private K-12 schools and 50,000 kits to early childcare providers, the Gov. Ned Lamont announced.
The tests, for both students and staff, were manufactured by iHealth Labs and FlowFlex. Use of the tests is at the discretion of schools and early childcare providers. The state Department of Education provided school officials with guidance recommending that they be used:
• If a child or staff person exhibits symptoms and needs to be screened for COVID-19;
• If a child or staff member has a direct exposure to an individual with COVID-19; and
• If a class or program is experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19, a school may want to distribute tests to all students in that classroom if they have difficulty accessing tests.
In addition, students and staff who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to test again.
Municipalities are distributing at-home COVID test kits to residents this week. Check your municipal website for details on locations, times and dates.
Lamont has called up nearly 100 Connecticut National Guard soldiers and airmen to assist in the logistical operations for the distribution of the tests and masks. The National Guard activation is 100% federally funded, Lamont said.
New Protocols For PreK-12 Schools
On Monday, (Jan. 3), DPH issued updated protocols regarding quarantine, isolation, testing and return to in-school activities, based on the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
• Individuals who are mildly symptomatic with COVID- 19 should immediately isolate at home, test for the virus that causes COVID-19 with a PCR, antigen, or self-test, and remain away from activities outside of the home until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are significantly improved, the DPH press release said.
• Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home for at least 5 days, or longer if symptoms develop and persist. A mask should continue to be worn for an additional 5 days at all times when around others.
• Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals who are notified that they have had a close contact with an individual who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should immediately quarantine at home and test for the virus 5 days after their last exposure, according to DPH.
For more information you can view the press release here: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Press-Room/Press-Releases—2022/Statement-From-Commissioner-Juthani-Regarding-Updated-Guidance-For-PreK-12-Schools
Mask-wearing in schools remains in effect.
CDC Recommends Pfizer Booster Shot After 5 Months; Expands Eligibility To 12-17-Year-Olds
On Jan. 4, the CDC updated its recommendation for when many people can receive a booster shot, shortening the interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Pfizer vaccine.
The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine, which is 2 months, or the Moderna vaccine, which is 6 months, has not changed, the CDC said.
On Wednesday, (Jan. 5), the CDC recommended that children and teens age 12-17 receive a Pfizer booster shot, five months after completing their 2-shot regimen.
In December, Pfizer reported that laboratory tests suggest that three doses of its coronavirus vaccine offer significant protection against the Omicron variant.
For the most comprehensive list of vaccine clinics go to ct.gov/covidvaccine
The city of New Haven has a number of vaccine (for all ages) and booster shot clinics scheduled. To view the list of options go here: https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccination
Vaccine and booster shots are available at Yale New Haven Health at various locations in its network. For information and to schedule an appointment go here: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/Vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine
Hartford HealthCare has a list of clinics and mobile locations for shots. You can register and view the locations here: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine
If you are in the UConnHealth network go here: https://health.uconn.edu/coronavirus/covid-vaccine/for information and to setup an appointment.
Pfizer Vaccinations For Kids 5-11
On Nov. 2, the CDC gave the go-ahead for vaccinations for children ages 5-11. The vaccinations are available through your health care network, pediatrician offices, school-based health clinics, community-based health clinics, local health departments and pharmacies. This age group will receive a dose of 10 micrograms, one-third of the adult dose. Nationally, more than 28 million kids in this age group are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Yale New Haven Health has set up clinics for young children throughout its network. You can view the calendar here: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/Vaccine/vaccine-schedule and set up an appointment here: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/Vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine Don’t have Internet? You can call 833-275-9644.
Hartford HealthCare is offering a number of special vaccine clinics for kids and also lists doctors’ offices providing vaccinations. To view the information, go here: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine
UConnHealth is accepting appointments for kids 13 and under by phone: call 860-679-5589. For general information on vaccines go here: https://health.uconn.edu/coronavirus/covid-vaccine/
New Haven has a number of vaccine clinics for children and adults. For a complete list of options go here: https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccination
For general information visit ct.gov/covidvaccine
Not Vaccinated Yet?
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.
How Many Fully Vaccinated?
As of Jan. 20, 2,943,928 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered; 2,573,422 completed the series of shots; and 1,201,674 were administered additional doses.
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.
COVID-19 Variant Cases
On Jan 13, the state reported that the number of confirmed cases of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), totaled 16,390; the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) totaled 3,525, and the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), 3,180.
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
Community Hot Spots
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.
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. Bridgeport and New Haven are still requiring mask mandates indoors. (There is no master list of all community-imposed mask mandates, so check local websites.)
• Mask-wearing is required – regardless of vaccination status – in health care facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, on public and private transit, and in correctional facilities, schools and child care centers.
• Businesses, private property owners, and state and local government offices may require masks to be worn by everyone inside their facilities.
Digital Vaccination Card
The state on Dec. 20 launched a digital vaccination card program. Some restaurants, theaters, concert venues and college events require proof of vaccination. The digital card makes it easier to provide proof, state officials said. The choice to load a digital vaccination card on a smartphone is strictly optional.
Instructions for how to load the digital cards, also known as “SMART Health Cards,” onto smartphones can be obtained by visiting ct.gov/getmyvaccinerecord. The system uses CT WiZ, Connecticut’s immunization information system, to confirm a person’s vaccination status, the governor said.
The SMART Health Cards display a QR code that upon being scanned will confirm the smartphone user’s vaccination status.
CDC Shortens Quarantine Period For COVID-19
The CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others, according to an agency press release.
The change, the CDC said, is because a majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. The CDC recommends that people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.
Mental Health Services Call 211
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.
Support for the LGBTQ+ community here: https://nomatterwhatrecovery.com/trauma-and-the-lgbt-community/
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.