Connecticut on Wednesday reported a continued increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as the state’s fluctuating daily positivity rate rose again to 6% and hospitalizations reached a total that hasn’t been seen since May.
The state reported 2,042 newly identified coronavirus cases, out of a total 34,135 tests administered. Including Wednesday’s data, the state’s average positivity rate over the past week is now 5.6%. The state’s weekly rate hit the same number on Monday, but before then it had not been so high since the end of May.
The state’s positivity rate has been rising since early September, when it first jumped above the gold standard of 1%. But other key metrics have also been on the rise.
Hospitalizations on Wednesday jumped by 39, for a total of 816 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. The state hasn’t seen such a high number of hospitalizations since mid-May.
The hospitalization numbers are still nowhere near as high as in April, when nearly 2,000 people were hospitalized. But the current numbers also make it clear that Connecticut has moved away from the quiet summer months, when hospitalizations hit a low of 42.
And on Wednesday, the state reported 13 more coronavirus-linked deaths — which, in a single day, is more than a third of the deaths reported in the entire month of August.
So far in November, Connecticut has seen 168 coronavirus-linked deaths. There have already been more deaths in the partial month of November than in the months of September and October combined.
The spiking cases have triggered an increased demand for testing, leading to hourslong wait times at testing sites across the state. But while Connecticut and other Northeast states wade through a second wave of the virus, states in the region have so far not gone into lockdown as they did in the spring.
Gov. Ned Lamont said this week that he hopes to avoid a full-blown lockdown, and has also said that he has no immediate plans to reinstate additional restrictions.
However, Lamont and other governors in the region met over the weekend to discuss coordinated efforts to contain the virus. So far, Lamont has said only that the governors agreed on recommendations for returning college students, although other coordinated actions are still on the table.
In total, Connecticut has now reported 97,028 coronavirus cases and 4,784 deaths. Nationwide, there have now been more than 11.4 million coronavirus cases and a total of 249,477 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
COVID-19 payment program for utility customers extended
A payment program for utility customers who are having difficulty paying their bills due to the pandemic will be extended through Feb. 9, Lamont said Wednesday.
Customers enrolled in the program cannot have their service terminated for nonpayment. Lamont said they should contact their utility for details.
According to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the payment programs:
Are available to any customer requesting financial assistance, without demonstrating financial need.
Require no initial or down payment.
Can be up to twenty-four (24) months in length.
Waive any fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount.
Facilitate the repayment of the past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill.
Single-day record of new cases at UConn
UConn reported 56 new coronavirus cases among students Wednesday, a new single-day record.
Of those who tested positive, 16 lived on campus and 40 lived off campus.
“Notably, 46 of the 56 positive cases were asymptomatic, which underscores the importance of UConn’s plan to test students before they return to their home communities for Thanksgiving break starting this weekend,” the university said in a news release.
There were also two new cases reported involving university staff.
UConn has already placed the entire Storrs campus under quarantine through next week, when students will return home until the new semester begins in January.
Emily Brindley can be reached at email@example.com.
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