Virus hospitalizations top 1,000 again in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The number of Connecticut residents hospitalized with COVID-19 topped 1,000 on Friday, the first time it has been that high since mid-May.

The new data also showed the number of nursing home residents who have been infected since the pandemic began has topped 10,000.

The state reported 49 more people were in the hospital compared with Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,017. During the first wave, hospitalizations reached a peak of 1,972 on April 22.

Gov. Ned Lamont has said the number of people in the hospital is one of the most important metrics he is watching when considering whether to impose more virus-related restrictions, with concerns about hospitals running out of space and staffing being inadequate.

The Democratic governor said he would consider reimposing restrictions that were in place during the first wave in the spring “if I heard from the leading hospital executives that we’re getting close” to full capacity.

Yale New Haven Health, which operates several hospitals in southern Connecticut, reported recently that only about 20% of its intensive care unit capacity was available.

Also Friday, the state reported 3,429 more people had tested positive and 35 more had died since Wednesday, bringing total infections to 112,581 and total deaths to 4,961. The positive test rate was 4.8%.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate has risen over the past two weeks from 4.3% on Nov. 12 to 5.26% as of Thursday, compared with positive rates of less than 1% over much of the summer.

Also over the past week, 413 more nursing home residents in Connecticut tested positive for the virus and 68 more residents died. Total nursing home infections now number 10,280 and deaths total 3,086. In the previous week, 306 more residents tested positive and 39 died.

Lamont on Friday also cautioned state residents about thieves trying to cash in by setting up fake COVID-19 testing sites. Official testing sites are listed on the state's coronavirus website at www.ct.gov/coronavirus. Bogus sites were recently reported in Bridgeport.

“It’s troubling that scam artists would try to capitalize on that, but I know our municipalities — with our support — will continue to act quickly to stop these bad actors,” the governor said in a statement.