Daily coronavirus updates: COVID-19 deaths begin to slow as Connecticut’s slow recovery continues; National Guard makes vaccine delivery to UConn Health

Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant
·3 min read

Coronavirus-linked deaths in Connecticut have begun to slow slightly, state numbers show, as the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalization count continue to show positive trends.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced 14 additional deaths associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday, the fewest in a day since mid-November. Connecticut has recorded 199 deaths over the past week — a staggering total but down from 250 in the seven days prior.

Overall, Connecticut has now reported 7,133 coronavirus-linked deaths during the pandemic. The United States has seen 445,030 COVID-19 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University, the most of any nation.

Connecticut’s slight dip in COVID-19 deaths comes after several weeks of decline in other key metrics. Lamont on Tuesday reported 2,568 new COVID-19 cases out of 58,957 tests, for a positivity rate of 4.4%. The state’s seven-day average now stands at 4%, up a touch from Monday but down dramatically from most of December and January.

The state currently has 900 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, down 12 from Monday and down nearly 30% from a mid-December peak.

Connecticut continues to rank among the national leaders in vaccine distribution, with more than 350,000 residents, about 10% of the state, having received at least one dose and more than 80,000 residents having received both their required doses. Only Alaska, West Virginia and New Mexico have vaccinated a greater share of their population among U.S. states.

UConn Health gets influx of vaccine doses

After being forced to cancel vaccine appointments this week due to a shortage of vaccine supply, UConn Health announced Tuesday that the Connecticut National Guard had delivered nearly 1,000 new doses, allowing them to reschedule canceled appointments.

“Our goal is to share these 975 first doses today and tomorrow with our patients,” Anne Horbatuck, vice president of ambulatory services, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are moving down the list of canceled patients starting with today’s and moving forward to reschedule them as quickly as possible.”

The rescheduled vaccine appointments are taking place at UConn Health in Farmington as well as at outpatient vaccine locations.

After receiving fewer-than-expected vaccine doses this week, UConn Health canceled all appointments through Friday.

“As we move forward, it is important to note that because of the ongoing uncertainty in vaccine supply, decisions will need to be made weekly as to whether any additional appointments will need to be canceled,” UConn Health said in a statement Sunday.

Road races to resume

Road races in Connecticut will be allowed to resume March 1, subject to continued positive signs in the state’s COVID-19 data, according to new state guidelines.

“Race organizers can plan events now for after that date,” DECD commissioner David Lehman said in an email Tuesday. “We expect to finalize protocols closer to March 1 but have been guiding folks to the safeguard measures we had in place for these races last summer/fall.”

Road races have been shut down since Thanksgiving week, when they were halted in response to rising COVID-19 numbers across the state.

Small business loans surpass $1 billion since January

Connecticut small businesses have now received more than $1 billion in forgivable loans since the Paycheck Protection Program resumed in mid-January, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The re-opening of PPP has provided needed support to over 11,600 CT businesses and their employees” SBA Connecticut district director Catherine Marx said in a statement. “We encourage any eligible CT small business continuing to struggle due to the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of the PPP before the March 31 statutory deadline, subject to the availability of funding.”

Business may apply for first draw or second draw loans, depending whether they received a loan during the first round of PPP payouts.

Courant staff writer Lori Riley contributed to this report.

Alex Putterman can be reached at aputterman@courant.com.