UPDATED: Coronavirus In Connecticut | Connecticut Health Investigative Team

Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 375,135, up 665 since yesterday; the positivity rate is 2.73%, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported. The state reported 10,547,693 COVID tests completed, up 24,349. Hospitalizations rose by 8 to total 365 since yesterday. The state reported 39 deaths since Aug. 26, bringing […]

Residents testing positive for COVID-19 totaled 375,135, up 665 since yesterday; the positivity rate is 2.73%, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.

The state reported 10,547,693 COVID tests completed, up 24,349. Hospitalizations rose by 8 to total 365 since yesterday. The state reported 39 deaths since Aug. 26, bringing the death total to 8,394. COVID deaths are reported weekly on Thursdays.

For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”

Go here for the most up-to-date state information.

FDA Grants Full Approval Of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month granted full approval to the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, a long-awaited development that public health officials hope will persuade some people who remain hesitant about the vaccine to get the shot, Helen Branswell reports for StatNews.   Here’s is the statnews story: https://www.statnews.com/2021/08/23/fda-grants-full-approval-to-covid-19-vaccine-developed-by-pfizer-biontech/

The Pfizer vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty and is approved for those age 16 and older.  Here is the FDA announcement: https://www.fda.gov/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/comirnaty-and-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine

State Employees, Childcare And School Staff Must Be Vaccinated

State employees, K-12 teachers and staff, and childcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 27, Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Aug. 19.

The state will consider religious and medical exemptions. If an employee does not get vaccinated the worker will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing.

The policy, negotiated with unions representing state workers, covers executive and judicial branch employees. The legislative branch is reviewing its options.

You can read the governor’s executive order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-13D.pdf

Masks Required In Schools, Governor Says

When schools convene later this month indoor masking will be required in classrooms, the governor said last month.

The masking requirement is for all students in grades kindergarten through 12. Lamont said he hopes that the requirement will only last a month or so, “but time will tell.”

Municipalities Can Impose Mask Requirements

The governor signed an executive order allowing municipal leaders to impose masking indoors in public places, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport and New Haven all imposed mask mandates recently. (There is no master list of all community-imposed mask mandates so check local websites.)

The emergency order, Executive Order No. 13A, means that municipal leaders will now have the option of moving beyond the minimum requirements in the statewide policy on masks implemented in May. The statewide policy, which remains in effect and has not changed, is as follows, according to the governor’s press release:

• Unvaccinated people must wear masks while in indoor public places.

• Mask-wearing is required – regardless of vaccination status – in health care facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools and child care centers.

• Masks are not required outdoors.

• Businesses, private property owners, and state and local government offices may require masks to be worn by everyone inside of their facilities.

The governor, in the press release, said a statewide masking order is not necessary because many municipalities have high vaccination rates.

CDC: Counties Designated For “High” Community Transmission

As of Sept.  2, six counties,  Litchfield, Hartford, Windham, Fairfield, New Haven, and New London are listed as  “high” for community transmission of COVID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. Middlesex and Tolland are  designated as “substantial” for community transmission. The CDC recommends that people in these counties wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

In addition, the CDC is now recommending masking for teachers, students and visitors in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status. This reverses guidelines issued earlier in July which said that vaccinated teachers and students did not need masks inside schools.

To view the CDC’s map on hot spot states and counties, click here.

Update: Pfizer Booster Shots Available Starting The Week Of Sept. 20

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August recommended that everyone receive a COVID booster shot eight months after their second dose.

HHS said that the booster shot would be available starting Sept. 20, but will only be available to those who had a Pfizer vaccine.

The FDA said on Friday (Sept. 3) that it needs more time to review Moderna’s data for a booster shot.

The third shot is needed to fight of waning immunity, HHS said.   A booster shot will likely be needed for people who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but HHS is also still reviewing data.

Residents With Compromised Immune Systems Can Get A Third Dose Now

Recipients of solid organ transplants and others with moderate or severe compromised immune systems – who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines – are eligible for a third vaccine dose, DPH said.  This in line with guidelines approved by the CDC. The CDC’s latest guidance on the third dose does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

DPH will work with providers to ensure that those who need a third dose receive it, the governor said in a Saturday press release.

People are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised if they are/have:

• Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

• Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

• Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

• Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)

• Advanced or untreated HIV infection

• Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Individuals who meet the criteria for an additional vaccine dose can make an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic at any COVID vaccine provider location, the press release said. If you are unsure if you are eligible contact your doctor, DPH said.

If you are an immunocompromised patient you can schedule your appointment for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine by going to Yale New Haven Hospital website: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/Vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine

If you are a patient in the Hartford HealthCare system you can make an appointment for a shot here: https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine/covid-vaccine-booster

COVID-19 Variant Cases

On Sept. 2, the state reported that the number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) totaled 3,394.  For the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), the state reported 2,396 cases. You can track the variants here: https://covidtrackerct.com/

On variants, read the CDC report here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html

COVID-19 Vaccine Info/Where To Get A Shot?

Want free concert tickets? For info go to Rock The Shot for details.

To schedule a vaccine call 211, the helpline run by United Way.

Text 438829 and put in your zip code to get a list of locations offering COVID vaccines near you.

Vaccine eligibility is now open to everyone 12 and older and there are many appointments available statewide.

Twelve- to 17-year-olds are reminded that Pfizer is the only vaccine authorized for those ages by the FDA.

As of Sept. 2, 2,461,543 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 2,261,439 people are fully vaccinated. As of Sept. 2, about 98% of people age 65 and older are fully vaccinated and 88% of those aged 55-64 are vaccinated. Also, 79% of those 45-54; 78% of those 35-44; 70% of 25-34; 66% of 18-24; 75% of 16-17 and 64% of those 12-15 are fully vaccinated.

The state has added a map outlining distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by community. View it here: https://data.ct.gov/stories/s/CoVP-COVID-Vaccine-Distribution-Data/bhcd-4mnv/

There are no out-of-pocket costs for those insured in Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant fully-insured plans and all self-funded plans, the state’s insurance commissioner said earlier this year.

Need A COVID Test?

A number of hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers are offering COVID-19 testing.  If you need a test go to 211.ct.org to find a location near you. https://www.211ct.org/

Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.

Free Admission For Kids At Museums

From July 1-Sept. 6, children 18 and under can visit museums in the state for FREE. There are more than 90 museums statewide, including the Connecticut Science Center, Beardsley Zoo, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, Mystic Aquarium, and Mystic Seaport Museum, participating .  Program funds were approved in the state budget, recently signed into law by the governor.

For a full list of museums participating in the program go here: https://www.ctvisit.com/articles/connecticut-summer-museum-free-admission-kids

Community Hot Spots

91 community “hotspots” in red in this week’s COVID-19 map.  Gray is under 5 cases per 100,000 population per day; yellow is 5-9; orange is 10-14; and red is 15 or more cases.

Lamont Extends Deadline For Long-Term Care Staff To Be Vaccinated

Long-term care staff must receive their first vaccine dose by Sept. 27, the governor announced Friday (Sept. 3), in extending his initial deadline by three weeks.

The $20,000-a-day civil penalty for failure of long-term facilities to comply with the order remains.

In addition to nursing homes, the governor’s order covers residential care homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, managed residential communities and chronic disease hospitals.

You can read the governor’s new order here.

Assisted living facilities are no longer required to report to DPH.  The last report with no new deaths was issued for the week of June 30-July 7. You can view the full report here.

Visitation Policy At Nursing Homes

Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes as long as there has been no new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing. Indoor visits will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among a resident or staff, DPH said in its order.

DPH said that facilities can limit the number of visitors per resident and can limit visitor movement inside facilities.  You can read DPH’s order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/20200925-DPH-Order-rescinding-restrictions-on-visitors-in-nursing-homes-residential-care-homes-and-c.pdf

Mental Health Services Call 211

State mental health services and programs are available by calling 211 for assistance.

NAMI-CT Services

Feeling anxious or depressed? You can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (NAMI-CT) hotline at 860.882.0236. Workers are available to talk live, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

NAMI Connecticut offers more than 70 FREE, confidential support groups across the state that are peer-led. They are facilitated by people who have experience with mental health issues. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the support groups have moved online:  https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/

A virtual Family Support Group is held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; visit https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/ for details.

National Resources

The World Health Organization has information here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

John Hopkins University & Medicine’s experts in global public health and infectious diseases has compiled a website to help advance the understanding of COVID-19.  View the website, which includes an interactive map of cases worldwide:  https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a forecasting model of COVID-19 cases here.

 

 

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