UPDATED: Coronavirus In Connecticut | Connecticut Health Investigative Team

UPDATED: Coronavirus In Connecticut | Connecticut Health Investigative Team

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Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 358,076, up 731 since yesterday; the positivity rate is 3.52%, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.

The state reported 10,043,043 COVID tests completed, up 20,772. Hospitalizations rose by 19 to total 174 since yesterday. The state reported 3 deaths since July 29, bringing the death total to 8,296. COVID deaths are reported weekly on Thursdays.

For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”

Go here for the most up-to-date state information.

Governor Says Municipalities Can Impose Mask Requirements; New Haven First Community To Require Masks

The governor signed an executive order allowing municipal leaders to impose masking indoors in public places, regardless of a person’s vaccination status.

New Haven will enact masking indoors effective Monday, Mayor Justin Elicker said.

The emergency order, Executive Order No. 13A, means that municipal leaders will now have the option of moving beyond the minimum requirements in the statewide policy on masks implemented in May. The statewide policy, which remains in effect and has not changed, is as follows, according to the governor’s press release:

• Unvaccinated people must wear masks while in indoor public places

• Mask-wearing is required – regardless of vaccination status – in health care facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools and child care centers.

• Masks are not required outdoors

• Businesses, private property owners, and state and local government offices may require masks to be worn by everyone inside of their facilities.

The governor issued the new order at the request of some municipal leaders.  The governor, in the press release, said a statewide masking order is not necessary because many municipalities have high vaccination rates.

CDC: Hartford And New Haven Counties Listed As “High” For Community Transmission

As of Aug 6, Hartford County and New Haven County are now listed as “high” for community transmission, and 6 CT counties are listed as “substantial” for community transmission of COVID-19 by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC recommends that people in these counties wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, the CDC is now recommending masking for teachers, students and visitors in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status. This reverses guidelines issued earlier in July which said that vaccinated teachers and students did not need masks inside schools.

Due to the rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 over the last 14 days and the spread of the Delta variant, DPH is strongly recommending that all residents two and older wear masks in indoor public places, a press release issued Sunday (Aug. 1) said.   This recommendation applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

The DPH press release said that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals at high risk for complications from coronavirus, including those with compromised immune systems should avoid large indoor gatherings.

DPH said that the so-called “vaccine breakthrough” cases have occurred but are rare and the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated individuals.

To view the CDC’s map on hot spot states and counties, click here.

Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order 12 remains in effect, which requires all individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when indoors and unable to maintain adequate distance from others, according to the release.

On July 30, the Washington Post reported that the COVID delta variant “appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox.”  You can read the Post story here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/07/29/cdc-mask-guidance/

The CDC released data July 30, to explain its recommendations on masking indoors in highly transmittable locations regardless of vaccination status. In the report, the CDC described an outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., that resulted in 469 cases – and three-quarters of those infected were fully vaccinated. You can read the report and view data here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7031e2.htm?s_cid=mm7031e2_w

Lamont Orders Long-Term Care Staff To Be Vaccinated

All staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities must be vaccinated against COVID, the governor ordered Friday (Aug. 6).  Staff must receive their first dose of vaccine by Sept. 7.

Failure of a long-term facility to comply with the governor’s order will result in a civil penalty of $20,000 a day, the governor’s order stipulates.

In addition to nursing homes, the governor’s order covers residential care homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, managed residential communities and chronic disease hospitals.

To date, about 55% of all nursing homes in Connecticut have a staff vaccination rate of lower than than 75%. Only 21% of nursing homes have a staff vaccination rate higher than 85%, the governor’s press release said.

You can read the governor’s order here.

Assisted living facilities are no longer required to report to DPH.  The last report with no new deaths was issued for the week of June 30-July 7. You can view the full report here.

COVID-19 Variant Cases

On Aug. 5, the state reported that the number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) declined to 3,376, representing 40.1% of all variants of concern.  For the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), the state reported 360 cases, representing 4.3% of all variants of concern. Cases of the Delta variant are increasing rapidly in states where vaccination rates are low. You can track the variants here: https://covidtrackerct.com/

On variants, read the CDC report here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html

COVID-19 Vaccine Info/Where To Get A Shot?

The Rock The Shot vaccine clinic scheduled for July 2 at the Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, was moved to July 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. The first 24 people to get the vaccine will receive a pair of tickets to the Luke Bryan concert July 16 at the Xfinity Theater, Hartford, DPH announced in a press release.  For info go to Rock The Shot. During the summer, the state will host 12 Rock The Shot clinics.

To schedule a vaccine call 211, the helpline run by United Way.

Text 438829 and put in your zip code to get a list of locations offering COVID vaccines near you.

Vaccine eligibility is now open to everyone 12 and older and there are many appointments available statewide.

Twelve- to 17-year-olds are reminded that Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for those ages by the FDA. Three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are offered. The J&J vaccine was paused for a brief time recently as regulators reviewed reports of blood clotting among 15 women between the ages of 18 and 49. Three of the 15 women died from blood clots. The FDA added a warning label to note the risk of rare blood clots.

On July 12, the FDA announced a new warning for the J&J vaccine, reporting that the shot has been linked to a rare side effect called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Out of 12.8 million doses given, about 100 cases of Guillain-Barré, an illness where the immune system attacks nerves, have been detected mostly in men, 50 years of age and older.

As of Aug. 5, 2,359,775 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 2,178,186 people are fully vaccinated. As of Aug. 5, about 96% of people age 65 and older are fully vaccinated and 86% of those aged 55-64 are vaccinated. Also, 77% of those 45-54; 73% of those 35-44; 65% of 25-34; 62% of 18-24; 70% of 16-17 and 55% of those 12-15 are fully vaccinated.

The state has added a map outlining distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by community. View it here: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/CoVP-COVID-Vaccine-Distribution-Data/bhcd-4mnv/

There are no out-of-pocket costs for those insured in Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant fully-insured plans and all self-funded plans, the state’s insurance commissioner said earlier this year.

12- to 15-year-olds Can Receive Pfizer Vaccine

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now available to adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15.  There are about 170,000 residents in this age group. A parent or legal guardian can make an appointment for their child starting immediately or you can bring your child to a clinic that is accepting walk-ins. Permission is required, so a parent or guardian must accompany their child to the vaccine appointment. To find a vaccine clinic go to: https://portal.ct.gov/Vaccine-Portal

Myocarditis Cases In Adolescents and Young Adults

The CDC and the FDA said on June 10 that they are seeing higher-than-expected cases of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis among adolescents and young adults who received a second vaccine dose, according to STATNews.com.

The agencies reported 573 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis after the second shot of either mRNA vaccine. That’s compared to 216 cases recorded after the first dose.  Most have recovered fully.

The agencies said that the data is preliminary and limited, and they are still trying to determine if there is a link or no connection at all to the vaccine.

You can read STAT’s full report here: https://www.statnews.com/2021/06/10/officials-higher-than-expected-heart-inflammation-cases-covid-19-vaccination/

Connecticut has had 18 cases of post-vaccination heart issues after vaccination, acting DPH Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said recently. She said the CDC has not yet determined if the cases of myocarditis were caused by the vaccines.

“We don’t know if these are vaccine-related or not,” Gifford said. “These have been rare, they’ve been mild and they’ve been self-limited, but we are tracking them and working with our federal partners.”

Free Admission For Kids At Museums

From July 1-Sept. 6, children 18 and under can visit museums in the state for FREE. There are more than 90 museums statewide, including the Connecticut Science Center, Beardsley Zoo, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Mystic Aquarium, and Mystic Seaport Museum, participating .  Program funds were approved in the state budget, recently signed into law by the governor.

For a full list of museums participating in the program go here: https://www.ctvisit.com/articles/connecticut-summer-museum-free-admission-kids

State Parks Back To Full Services

For a list of every state park in Connecticut, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Listing-of-State-Parks.

For more information on park openings go here: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2021/04-2021/Governor-Lamont-Announces-Plans-at-Connecticut-State-Parks-for-the-2021-Outdoor-Recreation-Season

Community Hot Spots

There are 7 community hotspots in red in this week’s COVID-19 map, East Hampton, Easton, Hampton, Hartford, Hartland, North Stonington and Thomaston. Gray is under 5 cases per 100,000 population per day; yellow is 5-9; orange is 10-14; and red is 15 or more cases.

Visitation Policy At Nursing Homes

Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes as long as there has been no new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing. Indoor visits will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among a resident or staff, DPH said in its order.

DPH said that facilities can limit the number of visitors per resident and can limit visitor movement inside facilities.  You can read DPH’s order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/20200925-DPH-Order-rescinding-restrictions-on-visitors-in-nursing-homes-residential-care-homes-and-c.pdf

Mental Health Services Call 211

Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services,  said that mental health services and programs are available to help.  Call 211 for assistance.

NEED A COVID TEST?

A number of hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers are offering COVID-19 testing.  If you need a test go to 211.ct.org to find a location near you. https://www.211ct.org/

Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.

NAMI-CT Services

Feeling anxious or depressed? You can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (NAMI-CT) hotline at 860.882.0236. Workers are available to talk live, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

NAMI Connecticut offers more than 70 FREE, confidential support groups across the state that are peer-led. They are facilitated by people who have experience with mental health issues. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the support groups have moved online:  https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/

A virtual Family Support Group is held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; visit https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/ for details.

National Resources

The World Health Organization has information here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

John Hopkins University & Medicine’s experts in global public health and infectious diseases has compiled a website to help advance the understanding of COVID-19.  View the website, which includes an interactive map of cases worldwide:  https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a forecasting model of COVID-19 cases here.

 

 

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