Gov. Ned Lamont said rapid response teams are being deployed in COVID “red alert” communities like Fairfield and Norwalk to help curtail the spread of the virus.

Lamont announced Friday there were 679 new coronavirus cases reported statewide and eight more deaths. There was one new hospitalization, increasing the statewide total to 233.

The state reported a 2.9 percent positivity rate Friday.

The state’s seven-day average is about 2.3 percent. While its among the lowest in the nation, the percentage is significantly higher than the 1 percent rate Connecticut hovered around in recent months.

“That’s not a trend I like to see,” Lamont said of the infection rate increase during a brief stop in Newtown on Friday.

“And it gives me no comfort to say we’re the lowest in the region, or one of the lowest in the country, because I don’t wish this on anybody. But I do say to you that I thank the people of Connecticut, because I know you’re exhausted. I know this has gone on for a long time. ... And we’re not quite out of the woods yet, but we will be if we stay careful, stay cautious, wear the masks and take care and look out for each other.”

In Fairfield and Norwalk, which were added on Thursday to the state’s “red alert” list, Lamont said there are different factors that have led to the outbreaks in those communities.

“We think in Fairfield that maybe it’s related to the universities, some off-campus living,” Lamont said. “In Norwalk, we think it may be some folks relaxed their guard — the informal social interactions, not the formal one at the school or the restaurant, the informal ones.”

To address these spikes, Lamont said, the state has rapid response teams that will respond with the tools to bump up testing in that area.

Municipalities with 15 or more positive virus cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period are considered in the state’s “red” level for the coronavirus spread potential. Those areas have the option to revert to Phase 2 restrictions of reopening.

“We still have some work to do in Norwalk and Fairfield,” Lamont said.

Universities across the state continued to see virus cases this week, according to updated data.

In Fairfield, Sacred Heart University reported eight more virus cases and Fairfield University reported an additional 11 cases on Friday.

Quinnipiac University in Hamden reported another 10 cases in off-campus students on Friday.

In New Haven, Yale University reported another three cases and University of New Haven reported 15 more cases among students.