Daily coronavirus updates: Connecticut’s hospitalizations surpass 400; deaths in double digits for third consecutive day

Emily Brindley, Hartford Courant

Two months after Connecticut’s positive coronavirus test rate began to rise, the state is now seeing significant increases in hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.

The state on Friday reported that 22 additional people have been hospitalized with COVID-19, for a total of 402 people. There has not been such a high number of hospitalizations since early June, more than five months ago.

The state on Friday also reported that 15 more people have died with COVID-19, marking the third consecutive day that the state has reported a double-digit number of deaths. In just three days — Wednesday through Friday — the state has reported 37 deaths. That’s more deaths than the state saw in the entire month of August, when 33 people died.

Meanwhile, one of the earliest indicators of a worsening outbreak — positivity rate — is still holding steady at well over 3%.

The state reported a daily rate of 3.6% on Friday, after identifying 1,065 new cases out of a total of 29,563 tests administered. After dipping slightly on Thursday, the state’s weekly average positivity rate bumped back up to 3.7% on Friday. That’s a significant increase over the late summer months, when the state was reporting a weekly rate mostly below 1%.

While a second wave of COVID-19 continues to tighten its hold on Connecticut, the state on Friday also formally reinstated some pandemic-related restrictions. Effective Friday morning, restaurants across the state are required to close their dining areas at 10 p.m., all private gatherings are capped at a maximum of 10 people and residents are advised to remain home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

While Gov. Ned Lamont has said that the rollback was in response to the ongoing outbreak, he has not yet indicated further plans to reinstate restrictions. He said at a Thursday press briefing that he will focus mainly on the state’s hospitalization numbers, using that metric as a gauge for whether the hospitals will have enough capacity to treat everyone who needs medical care.

Hospital officials have so far said that their facilities have more than enough capacity to handle the current surge in patients, although the numbers are expected to continue to rise at least through December.

In Connecticut, a total of 78,125 people have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and 4,671 people have died.

Nationwide, more than 9.6 million people have contracted the virus and a total of 235,347 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Emily Brindley can be reached at ebrindley@courant.com.

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