CONNECTICUT — The vast majority of Connecticut towns remain in the state’s red alert level for infections, but cases may have hit at least a temporary plateau. Cases among preK-12 students also dropped after reaching an all-time weekly high.
Only five of Connecticut’s 169 towns aren’t in the red zone for infections. Towns enter the red zone when they exceed 15 average daily cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week average. The good news is that 122 towns saw their average daily case rate either stay the same or drop, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.
Connecticut saw a slight dip in its statewide infection rate recently. The rate dropped to 65.5 daily infections per 100,000 residents between Jan. 3 and 16 — it had reached 68.5 between Dec. 27 and Jan. 9. Connecticut uses the per capita indicator as one of its primary metrics to gauge the pandemic.
All Connecticut counties except New London County saw their infection rates dip as well.
Connecticut has also seen a recent dip in the positive test rate — the 14-day average dropped to 7.9 percent between Jan. 8 and 21 compared to 9.5 percent for Jan. 1 and 14. The positive test rate is used by the state as a secondary measure.
Connecticut health officials recommend the following for municipalities in the red zone:
Individuals: Limit trips outside home, avoiding gatherings with non-family members. High-risk individuals should stay home.
Communities: Cancel public events and limit community gathering points, alert residents via reverse 911 system.
Organized group activities: Postpone all indoor activities. Postpone outdoor activities where mask wearing or social distancing cannot be maintained at all times.
Prekindergarten-grade 12 schools: In collaboration with local health department and superintendent, consider more distance learning if cases are greater than 25 per 100,000 residents per day over a two-week average.
Connecticut’s adult inpatient hospital bed occupancy is around 80 percent and adult ICU occupancy is around 61 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Gov. Ned Lamont reported another 2,019 coronavirus cases Friday and a daily positive test rate of 4.93 percent. Net coronavirus hospitalizations dropped by 11 patients down to 1,058 — the state has hovered in the low-1,000 patient range for more than a month now.
Another 45 coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday, bringing the state total up to 6,819.
Lamont was cautiously optimistic Thursday that the coronavirus situation was improving in Connecticut and the surrounding region. However, he announced he would take a wait and see approach before making changes to restaurant capacity or curfews. Among some potential concerns are the return of college students to campus, more preK-12 students returning to the classroom and the potential effect of highly contagious coronavirus variants becoming more predominant in the state.
The U.S. as a whole saw a large decrease in its daily average case count with a 7-day average of around 181,000 daily cases as of Jan. 22, according to the New York Times.; it reached a peak of around 254,000 daily average cases on Jan. 9.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top coronavirus advisor, said Thursday that U.S. cases appear to have plateaued. However, he was quick to point out that the pandemic has been hard to predict in the past.
The number of weekly coronavirus cases among students also recently decreased. Connecticut reached an all-time weekly high for coronavirus cases among students between Jan. 7 and 13 with 1,513 cases, but that figure saw a 38 percent drop down to 936 cases for the period between Jan. 14 and 20.
There were 244 cases among students whose districts are primarily in-person, 402 cases among primarily hybrid learning districts and 289 among remote districts.
Around 42 percent of school districts were primarily fully in-person as of Jan. 15, according to the state Department of Education. Another 31 percent were primarily hybrid and around 27 percent were fully remote. However, since then some school districts including Danbury and New Haven moved away from full remote status.