CONNECTICUT — Among the general and otherwise healthy population of Connecticut, coronavirus-related hospitalizations and infections continue to decline. It's a different story inside nursing homes.
In the latest report from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the number of cases among nursing home residents have nearly doubled from 829 to 1,616 in the past two weeks. Deaths have more than quadrupled, from 13 to 53, in the same period.
Nursing home staff and residents were prioritized in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine once it became available, and the state was successful in that critical roll-out. Ninety percent of the residents have completed their vaccine series, Gov. Ned Lamont said during a news conference Thursday, along with nearly as many staff. All long-term care facility and state hospital employees are required by state mandate to receive the vaccine.
But when it comes to vaccine booster shots, the facilities haven't kept pace, according to the governor. Less than 80 percent of the residents have received their third shot, Lamont said, and only around a third have been boostered. That, despite an executive order signed by the governor in January mandating the third jab.
On Wednesday, Lamont issued another order, requiring all nursing home visitors to either show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently tested negative for the virus in order to enter the facilities, beginning Saturday.
To assist with the large volume of on-site testing the mandate is expected to require, the Lamont administration scheduled Connecticut National Guard troops to assist in the roll-out of 50,000 rapid antigen tests. Over 3.1 million rapid tests have already been distributed by the state, mostly to the schools, and another half-million are going out Friday.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations continued their downward trajectory for the second straight week in Connecticut.
DPH is reporting the number of residents hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to 1,695 Friday, down 38 beds overnight, and 200 in the past week.
Of those hospitalized in Connecticut, just over 43 percent are fully vaccinated.
The highest number of the hospitalized —526 — are in New Haven County.
COVID-19 infections in the state rose less than a half percentage point overnight, to 13.69 percent, according to the latest DPH data. The daily coronavirus positivity rate has fallen 12.31 percent over the past two weeks.
The daily coronavirus positivity rate is a function of the number of tests compared to the number of cases confirmed positive each day. Overnight, 4,444 positive cases were logged, out of 32,459 tests taken. The numbers of tests and cases confirmed do not include those taken with at-home self-test kits.