Connecticut’s positivity rate on Tuesday clocked in at 1.48%, solidly above the gold standard of 1% but down slightly from the previous week’s high of 1.85% and still well below the threshold at which Gov. Ned Lamont has said he would consider postponing the upcoming phase of reopening.
The state’s positivity rate, which had remained mostly below 1% for weeks, jumped higher on Sept. 9 and has dipped back below that line only once since then.
However, despite that uptick, Lamont decided to move forward with the third phase of reopening, which is slated to begin on Thursday. Most notably, that phase will allow restaurants to increase their indoor capacity from 50% to 75%.
Lamont has said that he would consider delaying the next step of reopening if the state’s positivity rate moved rapidly into the range of 3-5%. The positivity rate reflects the percent of all COVID-19 tests that are in fact positive. The higher the percentage of positive tests the more likely that infection rates are increasing.
The phase 3 reopening will ease restrictions on hair salons, barber shops, libraries, places of worship, outdoor concerts, in addition to expanding restaurant capacity.
On Tuesday, Hartford HealthCare’s chief clinical officer Dr. Ajay Kumar said the state’s increased case rate is “concerning,” but not entirely unexpected.
“We expect as we go forward in the winter and the late fall, we will have some hotpsot activities across the state of Connecticut. We will see some spikes, we will some sporadic events happening as we are seeing right now,” Kumar said.
But while hotspots may lead to an increase in the state’s overall numbers, Kumar said it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the state is seeing a second wave of COVID-19.
“It becomes somewhat important for us to understand that these isolated events which are happening do not contribute to a surge overall,” he said. “We’re still in a good place.”
Also on Tuesday, the state reported 121 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 59,241 since the pandemic began. Connecticut reported four new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday. There have now been 4,521 coronavirus-related deaths in the state since March.
The Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University reported Tuesday that 210,616 Americans have died due to the coronavirus. There have been nearly 7.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States.
Hospitalizations in Connecticut, which jumped by 19 on Monday, remained flat on Tuesday. There are still 129 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Before the state reported that number on Monday, it had not seen such a high number since June 23.
Emily Brindley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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