Lamont: COVID infection rate drops to 2.6 percent
While more than 400 new COVID-19 cases were again reported, the state’s positivity rate and hospitalizations slightly declined on Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont said.
There were 416 new confirmed cases and 15,846 tests reported on Wednesday. The state’s positivity rate dipped to 2.6 percent — down from 3 percent on Tuesday.
However, the seven-day average increased to 2 percent. The last time Connecticut had a seven-day average positivity rate of 2 percent was June 17.
The national average positivity rate is 5.6 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The new cases on Wednesday pushed the statewide total of confirmed and probable cases to 64,871. There were eight more deaths linked to the virus, increasing the total to 4,567. Hospitalizations, however, have dropped by four, down to 213.
As of Wednesday, Connecticut’s average number of new cases over the last seven days is at 12 per 100,000 residents per day. The national rate was 18 as of Tuesday. Both numbers have continued to follow a rising trend in recent weeks.
Dr. Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said her agency was “not surprised and are prepared” for the recent surge in cases.
She said the state has been stockpiling personal protective equipment and strengthening relationships with local health departments in anticipation of a bump in cases.
“We do need individuals to take a second look at mask-wearing, the distancing, the social gatherings,” Gifford said. “This is a disease that’s spread by person-to-person contact.”
Gifford joined Lamont on Wednesday in announcing that 21 local health districts and departments — including Bridgeport, Ridgefield, Orange and New Canaan — will be the first to receive a portion of $20 million in federal COVID-19 funding. The money aims to support testing, contact tracing and other efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
The money was allocated as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Cooperative Agreement.
“We’re doing this grant … because we need our local health departments more than ever,” Lamont said Wednesday at Charter Oak Park Pavilion in Manchester, which is one of the communities to receive the initial grant money.
“We’re keeping you really busy and COVID is keeping you really busy and we’re asking public health departments to do more and more.”
Under an agreement with the federal government, the money is intended to be used by local health districts and departments to enhance contact tracing; strengthen testing volume and capacity; educate the public about COVID-19 and improve other areas of response.
The state has at least 65 local health agencies, which will all receive federal funding at some point, Gifford said.
She said contact tracing “is really a critical foundation to addressing pandemic.” Gifford said 105 full-time contact tracers have been hired through DPH.
The funding is being administered by the DPH and will be distributed to each local health district and department over the course of three years. For instance, Bridgeport — the community receiving the most funding in this round — will receive $510,243 in the first year and a total of $1,275,606.
Colleges continue to report new cases of the virus among students, faculty and staff as the pandemic continues.
Yale University in New Haven reported two students and two faculty/staff tested positive for the virus Monday, the most recent day the university had data available for as of Wednesday.
Another New Haven school, Southern Connecticut University State University reported one additional virus case among residents students and live-in staff, putting the overall total number of cases at seven.
Quinnipiac University in Hamden on Wednesday reported three new cases of the virus in student off campus since the end of last week.
The University of Connecticut reported one new off-campus case and two additional cases in employees/affiliates on Wednesday.