Lamont Says State is Meeting Metrics for May 20 Reopening

The state has performed just under 45,000 COVID-19 tests in the past week, exceeding the goal of 42,000 tests per week. Results received from long-term care facility testing and previously unreported tests have led to what appears as a large spike in West Hartford cases.

By Patrick Skahill, Connecticut Public Radio for CTMirror.org

Additional content, including West Hartford-specific information provided by Ronni Newton, We-Ha.com

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday that Connecticut is on pace to meet the criteria it set for a safe, partial reopening of business this week, citing a continued decline in hospitalizations and an increase in testing.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the state have been on the decline for about four weeks now. On Monday that number dropped by 17 to a total of 920 people, officials said, a decline of about 53%.

An additional 41 people died from complications related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-associated deaths to 3,449 in the state.

The governor said the goal of increasing COVID-19 testing to 42,000 tests per week was also proceeding on pace, with the state reporting slightly fewer than 45,000 coronavirus tests performed in Connecticut over the last seven days.

Data released by the state Monday included 7,072 tests, of which 697 were positive.

In West Hartford, there have been 499 laboratory-conformed cases of COVID-19 reported as of Monday. A total of 1,757 residents have been tested, according to date provided by the state. The number of positive cases grew by 46 on Monday – the largest one-day increase ever – but some of those results are catch-ups.

“Residents in long term care are being tested and that accounts for the increase,” Aimee Krauss, director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District told We-Ha.com in an email. Krauss said that additional West Hartford test results from April were received by the Health District from the state Department of Public Health on Monday, and those were included in the totals as well.

Debbye Rosen, a nurse with the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, said Tuesday that the testing of nursing home residents has been completed, but not all of the results have been received.

One additional West Hartford fatality was reported Monday, bringing the town’s total to 85.

The state has said it’s working to boost its testing numbers in recent days, prioritizing testing at prisons, nursing homes, and other high-risk areas like densely-populated city centers.

Hospitals have also increased testing for medical professionals and other frontline caregivers.

But Deidre Gifford, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said one frontline group that will not be tested in the first wave of expansion for COVID-19 testing is daycare workers.

“We have not seen large numbers of cases in daycare centers of COVID,” Gifford said. “They do report to DPH and it’s been a very, very small number of cases that we have seen.”

“In our first phase of high-priority testing, daycare workers are not specifically called out,” Gifford said. “But as we … continue to add to our testing capacity and our testing strategy, all types of frontline workers, we will begin to develop guidance and recommendations.”

Late Monday, the governor issued Executive Order 7PP, which enacts numerous provisions related to the first phase of reopening.

Ali Warshavsky and Connecticut Public Radio’s Ray Hardman and Matt Dwyer contributed to this report.

Reprinted with permission of The Connecticut Mirror.

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