Daily coronavirus updates: Study calls Connecticut safest state amid COVID-19 pandemic

·3 min read

Connecticut is currently the safest state in the country based on COVID-19 metrics, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the personal finance website WalletHub.

The WalletHub study — based on vaccination rate, positivity rate, hospitalization rate, death rate and estimated transmission rate — found Connecticut in the best shape, followed by Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. Wyoming, West Virginia and Idaho were the least safe states, according to the WalletHub methodology.

“I’m incredibly proud that Connecticut is the safest state during the pandemic,” Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted Thursday. “We’ve worked hard to protect lives and livelihoods.”

As of Wednesday, Connecticut had reported the fewest COVID-19 cases per capita of any U.S. state over the past week.

Even so, recent state numbers reinforce that Connecticut’s coronavirus threat isn’t over yet. Hospitalizations have been flat or even up slightly in recent days, and the state on Thursday reported an additional 40 COVID-19 deaths over the past week.

Dr. Ulysses Wu, an infectious disease specialist at Hartford HealthCare, noted the uptick in hospitalizations and the continued drumbeat of deaths as a potential warning sign.

“It’s too early to say if that’s a trend,” Wu said. “I don’t know what it means.”

Cases and positivity rate

Connecticut on Thursday reported 908 new COVID-19 cases out of 40,775 tests, for a positivity rate of 2.23%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at 1.91% up slightly from Wednesday and about flat over the past week.

Connecticut has averaged 447 COVID-19 cases a day over the past week, about even with the seven days prior. About 72.7% of cases over the past week have occurred in unvaccinated people, according to state numbers.

As of Thursday, Windham County was experiencing “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while Hartford, New Haven, Fairfield, New London, Middlesex and Litchfield counties were experiencing “substantial” transmission. Tolland County is now listed as having only “moderate” transmission, meaning people there are not advised to wear masks indoors based on CDC guidance.

Forty Connecticut towns and cities, mostly in Windham and New London counties, currently qualify for the state’s “red alert” designation, which is triggered when a municipality averages 15 or more daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Hospitalizations

Connecticut now has 244 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, down one from Wednesday but still up over the previous week. Hospitalizations had declined through much of September before leveling off recently.

Hospital officials say the vast majority of those hospitalized with serious COVID-19 symptoms are unvaccinated.

Deaths

Connecticut on Thursday reported 40 additional coronavirus-linked deaths over the past week, bringing its total to 8,707 during the pandemic. Deaths have remained fairly level over recent weeks, ranging from 36 to 53 over any given seven-day period.

The United States has now recorded 720,223 COVID-19 deaths, according to the New York Times.

Vaccinations

As of Thursday, 77.3% of all Connecticut residents and 88.8% of those 12 and older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 69.6% of all residents and 79.9% of those 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Amid demand for COVID-19 booster shots, vaccine providers in Connecticut administered 61,169 vaccine doses from Oct. 3-9, down slightly from the week before but up from the period immediately before booster shots were authorized.

Booster shots are available for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine more than six months removed from their second dose who are 65 or older, have health conditions that leave them vulnerable to COVID-19 or work jobs that leave them at high risk.

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

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