Data released Tuesday indicates there were no new COVID-19-associated deaths in Connecticut since Monday, marking the first time since mid-March that the state has not reported a death tied to the disease.
To date, there have been a total of 4,338 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Connecticut. The state has had more than 47,000 cases, including 57 new ones since Monday, and currently has an infection rate of about 1%.
“For the first time in months, there were zero COVID-related fatalities, zero COVID-related fatalities,” said Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, during a new conference in New Haven. He partially credited residents with continuing to wear face masks, noting “it makes a difference.”
Meanwhile, the state's latest figures also show an uptick of 14 new hospitalizations, for a total of 83. Lamont called it “a little disturbing,” but believes it likely stems from fewer discharges. While hospitalizations were a key metric for the state earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, he said it's less important now considering the large number of available beds in Connecticut's hospitals.
In other coronavirus news:
Anyone traveling into Connecticut, New York or New Jersey from three additional states — Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma — must now self-quarantine for 14 days to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Tuesday's announcement means a total of 19 states now meet the criteria of having a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10% or higher positive rate over a seven-day rolling average.
Lamont said on Monday that he believes the quarantine has been discouraging visitors from coming to the state. He noted that the number of flight cancellations at Bradley International Airport is double what officials had anticipated.
“So there are many fewer people coming from Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, now even California than there were before,” said Lamont, adding that the state of Connecticut has been warning about the quarantine on social media in Florida, Arizona and Texas with ads that have garnered more than 1 million impressions.
“So I think people know that this region, not just Connecticut, is being very strict on the quarantining,” he said. “And it’s discouraging a lot of out-of-state state visitation from those states.”
The 19 states under the advisory include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
If a 14-day quarantine is not possible, Lamont recently signed an executive order that allows visitors from the affected states to substitute a negative viral test for COVID-19 taken 72 hours before traveling to Connecticut.
NURSING HOME STUDY
Mathematica Policy Research, a firm headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, has been chosen by the Department of Public Health to conduct a third-party review of the response to COVID-19 in Connecticut's nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The group is expected to provide its findings by the end of September.
“Our nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19,” Lamont said in a written statement. “The tragedies that occurred deserve a thorough examination and we have an obligation to those who live in those facilities, their families, and the incredible professionals who care for residents to provide answers as to what could have been done differently to mitigate the spread of the virus."
Lamont said the information is especially important in case there is a second wave of infections in Connecticut. Among other things, Mathematica will assess the overall impact of the pandemic in Connecticut and the long-term care facilities and compare it to other states in the region and the country. They have also been tasked with identifying significant circumstances that may have favorably or unfavorably affected the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, ranging from the timeliness of the response to staffing challenges and availability of PPE.
The review will cost approximately $450,000.
UConn doctors have developed something they say can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 — a replacement for the handshake.
Dr. Cato Laurencin and Dr. Aneesah McClinton, who work at UConn Health’s Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, have created what they are calling “The Laurencin-McClinton Greeting” or LMG.
The greeting involves individuals placing a closed fist to their chest just over their heart to convey respect and then reaching forward to bump the back of their forearms.
The school has posted an instructional video showing Laurencin greeting UConn President Thomas Katsouleas.
The school, in promoting its new greeting, notes that a single handshake can transfer 124 million bacteria.
Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this story.