CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday said the spread of new coronavirus cases over the Christmas holiday weekend was not as bad as anticipated, and called the state's 6.05 percent positive coronavirus test rate "stable."
There were 8,457 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed over the past four days and just 19 more patients were hospitalized with the virus. Another 113 coronavirus-related deaths were reported over the past four days; the death toll is approaching 6,000 since the pandemic began.
The governor said he expects cases will climb in the coming weeks.
Earlier Monday, Paul Monds, Lamont's chief of staff, reported another member of the governor's staff tested positive for the virus. The unidentified staffer had a brief interaction with Lamont from an "appropriate" distance while wearing a mask, according to Mounds. The governor will not self-quarantine, Mounds said.
Connecticut has fared considerably better than neighboring states like New York and Rhode Island, which have seen spikes in cases and infection rates over the holiday weekend.
State Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said Connecticut tests for the coronavirus at levels similar to its neighbors, and so the comparison of positivity rates among the states was a fair one.
Lamont cautioned that "it's not something we can take for granted."
Asked during a news conference Monday whether a new strain of the virus surging in Europe should lead to tighter travel restrictions, Lamont said he thought the existing regulations were sufficient.
"We can't put up a wall," he said.
The coronavirus vaccine distribution in the state is off to a "great start," according to Geballe, who called the vaccine "incredibly effective, incredibly safe." There have been 36,376 doses administered so far for health care workers at 76 locations and those at 72 nursing homes.
Lamont said the state will reinforce its efforts to combat what he called "vaccine hesitancy."
Further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the next phase of vaccine distribution targeting first responders is expected shortly, Lamont said.
The towns with the most new coronavirus cases over the past four days are:
1. Hartford: 484
2. Waterbury: 418
3. Stamford: 354
4. New Britain: 309
5. Bridgeport: 291
6. Danbury: 279
7. New Haven: 265
8. Meriden: 221
9. Norwalk: 219
10. East Hartford: 185
The towns with the most new cases over the past week are:
1. Hartford: 652
2. Waterbury: 576
3. Stamford: 489
4. Danbury: 479
5. New Britain: 436
6. Bridgeport: 418
7. New Haven: 379
8. Norwalk: 348
9. Meriden: 317
10. East Hartford: 247