CONNECTICUT — Connecticut and other nearby states are considering additional coronavirus restrictions as hospitalizations continue to climb with no sign of abating anytime soon.
Connecticut reported another 98 coronavirus hospitalizations over the weekend for a total of 757 currently hospitalized. Connecticut was last at that number of hospitalizations around May 20, which was the time of the state’s first reopening phase. The state hit a peak of about 2,000 hospitalizations around April 22.
The group of governors hasn’t landed on a specific number of hospitalizations that would trigger extra restrictions, Lamont said. They were in agreement that a total shutdown was out of the question.
“We’re going to be looking at gyms, looking at indoor dining," Lamont said. "We’ll be looking at churches if we have to going forward, those areas where you maybe have a little more likelihood of spread as opposed to retail and the workplace."
Unlike March and April, there will be no cavalry to call in from other parts of the country or even other parts of the state as the entire nation deals with a large uptick of coronavirus cases, Lamont said. He referenced a New York Times article about doctors and other health care workers who are calling it quits amid burnout.
“So I think it’s going to be less about beds, less about PPE, less about [ventilators] for sure, and making sure we can keep our doctors and nurses energized with enough backup, enough support so that we can manage what could be the surge going forward,” Lamont said.
Connecticut still has plenty of hospital capacity, unlike other states like North and South Dakota, which are very close to hitting maximum capacity. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced a mask mandate last week.
Lamont has been self-quarantining since late last week when his communications director, Max Reiss, tested positive for the coronavirus. Lamont has so far received two negative test results, the last of which came Monday. His entire senior staff has decided to self-quarantine for now and are working remotely.
Connecticut's coronavirus best practices heading to national level
President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory board will be taking some lessons learned from Connecticut’s pandemic response to the national level. Biden named Yale School of Medicine Associate Dean Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith to his advisory board. She was previously a member of Connecticut’s own coronavirus advisory committee.
“I’m very grateful I’m a resident of this state were very early on the response was guided by science and evidence and those are the same principles that the president-elect is following,” Nunez-Smith said.
Connecticut early on in the pandemic focused on equity for coronavirus resources along with at-risk populations, Nunez-Smith said. She plans to take those lessons to Biden’s transition team. She will also urge precise coronavirus mitigation strategies like Connecticut has been doing, she said.
“It’s got to be a precise adjustment of the dial, it’s not a light switch,” she said.
Biden’s transition advisory group hasn't spoken with Trump’s coronavirus advisors yet, Nunez-Smith said. One of the biggest hurdles is getting information on vaccine distribution.
“So far we have not had an opportunity to talk to even the career folks in the administration who really have valuable information and insights,” she said. “It hasn’t happened yet, but we are very open to that. We would appreciate a chance to work together.”
Lamont was pointed in his call for Trump to begin the transition process, especially as the country enters the critical vaccine distribution rollout.
“I think it’s really urgent that this transition begin on a constructive basis and I really urge the Trump administration to open the doors," Lamont said. "Come January we are going to be in the middle of the vaccine distribution … you are handing the baton over right in the middle of this process."