CONNECTICUT — Connecticut's list of towns in the red zone for coronavirus infections grew Thursday to 68. A week prior, it was at 30 towns. Around 60 percent of the state's population now lives in a community with an infection rate above 15 cases per 100,000 people per day.
The list started three weeks ago with just four towns meeting that threshold, but it has since ballooned as the state continues to see more coronavirus infections.
The map is an illustration of why Gov. Ned Lamont decided to revert to phase 2.1 on a statewide basis instead of town-by-town, he said.
Another 44 towns fall into the state's orange advisory level with between 10 and 15 cases per 100,000 people.
Norwalk (8.9 percent), Danbury (8.6 percent), Bridgeport (6.7 percent) and Stamford (6.7 percent) all had positive test rates much higher than the state average over the past two weeks.
Gathering limits announced
Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday announced a new social gathering limit of 10 people to contain the spread of the virus. That means people should keep their Thanksgiving feasts small this year.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, I get it, we talked about that before, but do it now, do it this Thanksgiving, put up with this a little bit longer, and we’re going to be much better off for the long term,” Lamont said Thursday afternoon.
The gathering limit is a significant reduction from the previous restriction of 25 people indoors and 150 people outdoors.
The gathering limit applies to indoor and outdoor events. Lamont conceded that enforcement of the limit is tough and will be based more on self-compliance.
Informal social gatherings have been a source of coronavirus spread in Connecticut and nationally, acting Department of Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford said.
“We tend to let down our guard a little bit in terms of masks and distancing when we're inside our own homes,” Gifford said.
Schools are an exception to the gathering limit. Lamont said that mask compliance is mandatory in the classroom and the infection rate in the school community is much lower than the statewide rate.
“Wearing a mask in the classroom is you know one of the safest places to be right now,” he said.
Contact tracing data points to infections in schools happening outside the classroom, he said.
Connecticut's phase 2.1 begins at midnight Friday. One change to the phase is restaurants can stay open until 10 p.m., but dinner service must stop at 9:30 p.m.
Below is the list of towns in the red zone as of Thursday:
Editor's note: The story has been corrected to reflect the correct number of towns in the red zone.