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Daily coronavirus updates: Weekly positivity highest since early September. More than 90 ...

Daily coronavirus updates: Weekly positivity highest since early September. More than 90 ...

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Christine Dixon, an educator from Glastonbury, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination from RN Rhonda Dannehy at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for public school staff in Glastonbury in this file photo from March 4.

Christine Dixon, an educator from Glastonbury, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination from RN Rhonda Dannehy at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for public school staff in Glastonbury in this file photo from March 4. (Kassi Jackson/Kassi Jackson)

Just days away from Thanksgiving, Gov. Ned Lamont warned that the Northeast is becoming “redder and redder” with COVID-19 transmission and urged Connecticut residents to seek out vaccinations and booster shots.

“We’re not an island and that’s why we’ve got to continue to be very cautious,” Lamont said during one of his first live COVID-19 briefings in months.

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Connecticut’s COVID-19 metrics have been on the rise in recent weeks, a concerning trend in the lead-up to the holiday season. As of Monday, the state’s weekly COVID-19 positivity rate is the highest it has been since early September; the number of people hospitalized with the virus is at its highest point since late September.

Still, hospitalizations in the state remain significantly lower than they were last winter — when the metric regularly surpassed 1,000 individuals — in large part due to Connecticut’s high vaccination rate. Unvaccinated residents are five times more likely to be infected with COVID-19, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus and 15 times more likely to die from it, according to state public health commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani.

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“That’s just one more reminder that while the vaccinations are very good at preventing infections, they’re extraordinarily good at keeping you out of the hospital and keeping you out of the morgue,” Lamont said.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are significantly down over a year ago, Gov. Ned Lamont's office reported Monday.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are significantly down over a year ago, Gov. Ned Lamont's office reported Monday.

Lamont and Juthani both urged Connecticut residents to get COVID-19 vaccines or booster shots before gathering indoors in large groups for Thanksgiving. During the holiday season, walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be held at Bradley Airport and train stations in New Haven and Stamford, in addition to more than 900 locations across the state.

“If you’re traveling, I hope to God you’ve been vaccinated, I hope your family’s vaccinated, I hope you’ve gotten that booster,” Lamont said.

Cases and positivity rate

Connecticut reported 2,060 new COVID-19 cases out of 58,379 tests administered over the weekend, for a daily positivity rate of 3.53%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at 3.34%, the highest it has been since Sept. 2.

As of Monday, all of Connecticut’s eight counties recorded “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While noting that the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate has risen over the past month, Lamont added, “You can take a little bit of comfort, but not a lot of comfort, in the fact it’s by far the the lowest in our particular region.”

Hospitalizations

As of Monday, Connecticut had 268 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 21 individuals since Friday. The state’s number of hospitalizations has now returned to its highest point since late September.

Hospital officials say the vast majority of those hospitalized with serious COVID-19 symptoms are unvaccinated.

Deaths

Connecticut reports additional COVID-19 deaths once a week, on Thursdays. The state reported 25 COVID-19 deaths last week, bringing its total during the pandemic to 8,834.

The United States has now recorded 771,679 deaths related to COVID-19, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccinations

About three months since the state announced that K-12 school employees at public and private schools had to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, more than 90% are fully vaccinated, Lamont announced Monday.

Overall, 163 public school districts have employee vaccination rates of at least 90% and 73 of those districts have vaccination rates above 95%, according to a one-time survey conducted by the state Department of Education. In total, 93% of 102,447 public school employees are fully vaccinated, as are 93% of 12,152 private school employees.

Across the state government system, nearly 84% of state employees are fully vaccinated, according to Lamont’s chief operating officer Josh Geballe. Of all state employees, a total of 31 have been fired due to non-compliance with the state’s vaccination and testing regulations, 35 have been placed on unpaid leave, 42 are in the process of being placed on unpaid leave due to refusal to comply and several hundred are waiting on a late test result.

As of Monday, 83% of all Connecticut residents and 93.5% of those 12 and older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 71.7% of all residents and 82.3% of those 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

About 56,000 children in Connecticut ages five to 11 have been vaccinated in the last few weeks, amounting to roughly 20% of the eligible population, according to state data.

“We could be a lot higher, but we’re doing pretty well,” Lamont said of children’s vaccinations.

Additionally, 22.3% of fully vaccinated Connecticut residents 18 or older have received a booster dose. Lamont noted that the state is bringing booster clinics to all of its nursing homes, for use by staff and residents.

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Eliza Fawcett can be reached at elfawcett@courant.com.

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