The state’s daily COVID summary is now based on a 7-day average: 847,039 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 10,459 testing positive over the last 7 days; the 7-day positivity rate is 13.71%, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) reported. The state reported 14,249,455 PCR/NAAT tests, with 76,293 residents testing positive over the last 7 days. Hospitalizations total 323. The state reported 25 deaths since May 5, bringing the death total to 10,883 COVID deaths are reported weekly. For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
After decades of inertia, Connecticut is finally moving to help its thousands of lead-poisoned children and prevent thousands of other young children from being damaged by the widespread neurotoxin. The state will direct most of its efforts — and most of $30 million in federal money — toward its cities, whose children have borne the brunt of this epidemic. In announcing the allocation recently, Gov. Ned Lamont pointed to lead’s “catastrophic” effects on children’s health and development, noting that lead poisoning is “a problem that impacts most deeply minority and disadvantaged communities of our state.” Nearly half of the 1,024 children reported as lead poisoned in 2020 lived in New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Hartford, or other cities, according to state Department of Public Health numbers. The more enduring thrust of the state’s new actions, however, is the strengthening of its outdated lead laws, starting in 2023.
For decades, scientists and public health officials have warned that the warming climate is the greatest threat to human health globally. But efforts to address the issue have been hampered by, among other things, climate change deniers. Those who do not view climate change as a significant problem driven mainly by human activity and the continued use of fossil fuels are also often associated with a partisan divide. But a June 2021 Pew Research Center poll found that millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z adults (born between 1997 and 2012) showed “high levels of engagement” in addressing climate change, regardless of party affiliation or ideology. The poll found that among Republicans, generational differences in views about climate change are “quite pronounced.”
The study found that 49% of Gen Z and 48% of millennial Republicans say that action is needed now to reduce the effects of climate change, compared to only 37% of Gen X (born after 1964) and 26% of baby boomers (born after 1946) who say it should be a top priority.
Deaf residents report frequent issues with sign language interpretation at Connecticut hospitals and health care facilities, hindering their ability to understand medical care fully. And though video remote interpreting (VRI) services are widely available at Connecticut hospitals, patients have reported mixed experiences with the technology. The issues persist more than 30 years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires interpretation for patients and family members under the “effective communication” section of the law. In the last three years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has negotiated four settlements with medical facilities in Connecticut for complaints related to communication with deaf patients. “At one point, ADA and accessibility seemed to be very good,” said Marissa Rivera, an advocate with Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT).
When it comes to environmental vulnerability, one group of people society often marginalizes has started to act up in Connecticut. Activists say one major category is missing when policymakers look at climate change preparation: the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community. An environmental activist movement for LGBTQ+ people has been building in the New Haven area for a few years. Those involved in the movement say evidence is beginning to accumulate that makes a clear connection between environmental threats, sexual orientation and gender identity. Their environmental vulnerability comes mainly from this group’s higher poverty rates.
Dilliner Jordan works 62 hours a week taking care of two people who are too medically fragile to take care of themselves. But she has no health insurance and often sleeps in her car because she can’t afford rent and a security deposit, even though she has been saving for months. She is fearful of staying at a shelter, which she believes will increase her chances of contracting COVID-19 for a second time. “It does bother me,” the 63-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., native said. “It bothers me a lot.
Isolation and lack of social get-togethers during the pandemic took a toll on high school students nationally, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. The findings are based on anonymous online questionnaires taken during the first six months of 2021. About 7,700 high school students in grades 9-12, who attend 128 public and private schools, participated. According to the CDC survey results:
• More than a third (37%) of high school students said they experienced poor mental health. • About 44% said they felt sad or hopeless in the past year.
In the basement of Madry Temple Church in New London, Margaret Lancaster, a health program coordinator at Ledge Light Health District, shows the pastor how to administer Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal treatment. In New Haven, at the Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jerry Streets and local clinical staff are offering substance use disorder treatment. These alliances of frontline health care workers with trusted community leaders are addressing the alarming rise of substance use disorders by leveraging the cultural power of churches to reach people in need of help. Overdose mortality rates have risen among all races in Connecticut over the past three years. But the rise has been particularly marked among the Black population.
More than 1,000 Connecticut children under age 6 were reported poisoned by lead in 2020, according to a report released this week by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Of the children tested that year, 649 were new cases. As has been the case for many years, nearly half of the 1,024 lead-poisoned children lived in the state’s cities. New Haven had the highest number of lead-poisoned children, with 171, followed by Bridgeport, 148; Waterbury, 81; Hartford, 71; and Meriden, 35. These five cities had 49% of all lead-poisoned children in Connecticut in 2020.
The state Medical Examining Board revoked the Connecticut medical license of a physician for a second time Tuesday after he failed to follow the terms of reinstatement including seeking help for alcohol abuse and submitting to random urine screenings. John D. Lynch II, MD, was granted a reinstatement by the board in January 2020. Under the terms, Lynch could have started practicing in February 2021, documents said. But by June 2021, a private therapist issued a report to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) indicating that Lynch “was not able to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety.”
DPH documents also said that since February 2021, Lynch has not attended individual or support group treatment meetings, failed to submit random urine screens and failed to participate in a required clinical skills evaluation. A therapist also reported that that Lynch was off his regular medication for a mental health issue due to the cost and would likely not be able to safely practice unless he resumed the medication, documents said.