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Marpe Warns Against Fall COVID Complacency

First Selectman Jim Marpe today warned against complacency and “COVID fatigue” this fall, urging residents to remain vigilant in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part to avoid another outbreak,” Marpe said. “Everyone must be mindful and respectful of our families, neighbors, friends and work colleagues when considering any behavior, including social activities, that may be counter to medical advice and the protocols that have been established to protect the community from the virus.”

Marpe made his comments on the heels of Gov. Ned Lamont’s Thursday announcement about bringing the state closer to the Phase III reopening beginning Thursday, Oct. 8.

This step specifically increases patron capacity at restaurants, salons, libraries, outdoor events, houses of worship and performing arts venues.

Lamont: CDC ‘Dead Wrong’ About New COVID Testing Guidelines

Lamont said the state is “making it easy” to test for COVID-19, with 160 testing sites. As of today, the Lamont administration reported that 1,095,949 coronavirus tests had been administered in the state.

The CDC’s new guidelines, posted on the agency’s website this week without a public announcement, eliminated previous advice that everyone exposed to the virus through close contact with an infected individual get tested to find out whether they are positive, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

The CDC has estimated that as many as 40% of those infected with the coronavirus have no symptoms, but they can still spread the disease to other people.

In a conference call with reporters today, Brett Giroir, an assistant Health and Human Services secretary in charge of coronavirus testing, said the changes are not intended to reduce testing. They are instead an effort to avoid testing those who get negative results a few days after exposure and have false confidence that they are not infected.

“A negative test on day two (after being exposed) doesn’t mean you are negative, so what is the value of this?,” Giroir asked. “It doesn’t mean, on day four, you can go visit grandma or day six you can go out without a mask.”

Nevertheless, the new CDC guidelines have caused an uproar among some Democrats, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District.

“These changes to testing, made quietly by CDC, are unbelievable and fly in the face of science,” she said in a statement. “The modifications are clearly political. The countries that have been able to control the spread of COVID-19 do not just test those with symptoms.”

Giroir said the change is CDC guidance, but was authorized by the White House’s coronavirus task force, which approved it last week after about a month of debate.

Lamont: Surging COVID-19 Cases in Other States Could Impact CT Plans

By Keith M, Phaneuf and Gregory B. Hladky

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont warned today he is reconsidering reopening bars in mid-July as new data shows the coronavirus spreading quickly in other parts of the nation, including in states that border the Northeast.

And while surging caseloads in the nation’s major southern and western states dominate the headlines, Lamont also acknowledged the spread is creeping closer to Connecticut, with rising infections in Ohio and other Rust Belt states.

“I would probably say I’m rethinking that [after] looking at what’s going on in other states,” Lamont said of the planned reopening of bars in Phase 3 of his economic road map for Connecticut, adding he likely would have more to say after July 4. “You hope for the best and you plan for the worst.”

Besides reopening bars and amusement parks in mid-July, the administration’s plan currently calls for limits on indoor gatherings to grow in about two weeks from 25 people to 50. The limit on outdoor gatherings would jump from 100 to 250.

New Study Will Focus on How Widespread COVID-19 is in Connecticut

By Gregory B. Hladky and Isabella Zu

www.ctmirror.org

Connecticut will be the first state in the nation to conduct a broad survey to determine how prevalent the coronavirus is throughout the state’s population, the governor announced today.

The research project will take blood samples from 1,400 people chosen randomly from Connecticut’s population to discover how many have antibodies showing they’ve been infected by the virus. Experts believe that many people who are exposed to COVID-19 either don’t have any symptoms or only very mild symptoms that could be mistaken for something else.

The survey will be led by scientists from Yale University in collaboration with Gallup, a nationally known analytics and advisory company, Quest Diagnostics, and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine.

“Connecticut has an urgent need to understand the extent of prior infection with COVID-19 in order to guide our efforts to protect the state’s residents, mitigate the harms of the virus, and implement efficient programs in the areas of greatest need,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

Lamont Says Connecticut’s COVID-19 Hospitalizations Dropped Dramatically

By Jim Welch

www.ctmirror.org

Hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic experienced the largest one day drop to date, Gov. Ned Lamont said today, while other public health data indicate positive trends are continuing as the state gradually reopens its economy.

Numbers released today show 577 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19, a drop of more than 70 people since Thursday. The governor said it was the largest one day decline to date. The state reported 203 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 41,762 total cases overall.

Lamont said social gatherings inside homes and other buildings can increase to 10 people and outdoor gatherings can increase to 25. The previous state guideline was to limit gatherings to five people.

“Outside is safer than inside,” Lamont said.

Westport COVID-19 Case Count at 285, Deaths 21

The state today released adjusted COVID-19 statistics, putting the Westport case count at 285, up two from its also adjusted count on Wednesday. The number of deaths was put at 21, down one from Wednesday.

The latest figures showed Connecticut with 41,559 cases, which the DPH said was an increase of 271. Fairfield County cases were listed at 15,353, up 39 reported on Wednesday.

There were 23 new fatalities statewide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to 3,826, Gov. Ned Lamont said. The Fairfield County number was 1,246, up four.

Statewide hospitalizations were listed as 648, a decrease of 36 while In Fairfield County, there was a decrease by nine to 211. Statewide tests administered were 235,525, up 5,756 in the last 24 hours, Lamont said.

A Mayor and U.S. Senator Sit for a Public COVID-19 Test

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

New Haven — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal sat under a pop-up canopy on the New Haven Green, tilted his head back and submitted to a nasal swab for a COVID-19 test today. The moment was a photo op for a media-savvy senator and a public-service pitch for a state promoting testing as it slowly loosens restrictions on commerce.

WestportNow.com Image
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal gets tested with a nasal swab for COVID-19 by nurse John Grimes on the New Haven Green today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Cloe Poisson for CTMirror.org

“It isn’t the most comfortable thing to have, in effect, a swab on a stick inserted directly into your nose. It is a a pretty strange and awkward feeling, but it doesn’t hurt,” Blumenthal said. He smiled and added, “And I didn’t cry.”

Testing for COVID has become easier to find in Connecticut, but testing sites still are less elements of a cohesive system than a loose affiliation of hospitals, community health clinics, laboratories and medical entrepreneurs behind pop-up sites, like the one open today on the New Haven Green.

“I think we have a long way to go,” said Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven.

Too Soon to Tell if Memorial Day Gatherings Will Trigger COVID-19 Surge

By Gregory B. Hladky

www.ctmirror.org

One of the big questions surrounding Connecticut’s pandemic Memorial Day weekend is whether all the beach-going and backyard barbecues will result in a spike in new COVID-19 cases in this state.

But the answer isn’t likely to be known for a week to two from now. That’s about how long it takes for most people to show coronavirus symptoms after being infected, according to Dr. Keith Grant, director of Hartford Healthcare’s infection prevention program.

“If something happens this weekend, for example, based on the incubation period, we’d say that within the next week or two weeks, we’d see some fallout from that,” Grant said Tuesday at the hospital system’s regular briefing

“It’s very hard to put [an exact] time or date on it,” Grant said.

Gottlieb: ‘We’re Going to See Cases Grow’

WestportNow.com Image
Westporter Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, told Gov. Ned Lamont’s news conference today that as the state reopens from the coronavirus, “there will be an uptick in cases. We expected that. We’re going to see more hospitalizations. We’re going to see cases grow. That’s why it is important to have a staged reopening as the state is doing.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Screen grab from CT-N