Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate has jumped to 8.33 percent, according to the governor’s office. That appears to be the highest it's been in 11 months. The governor's office also said there is a second confirmed case of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the state.
Second Case of COVID-19 Omicron Variant in CT
The governor’s office said the second case of the COVID-19 omicron variant involves a fully vaccinated man in his 20s from Fairfield County.
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The governor’s office said he did not report any links to the NYC Anime 2021 Convention but traveled to New York City in the week before his symptoms started.
The man developed mild symptoms on Dec. 2, then on Dec. 4, he tested positive on an at-home rapid antigen test and a molecular test. The sequencing on the case was performed by the Yale School of Public Health.
Governor Addresses 8.3 Percent COVID Positivity Rate
The COVID positivity rate for Connecticut increased from 5.8% on Monday to 8.33 percent on Tuesday.
It appears the last time Connecticut's positivity rate was over 8 percent was on Jan. 8, before vaccines were widely available. The rate on that date was 8.46%.
At that time, 1,109 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and there had been 3,236 additional cases since the day before.
“That is distressing since we have 95 percent of our people, eligible people, have had at least one shot. Obviously, the overwhelming majority of those infected are the unvaccinated,” Gov. Ned Lamont said about the positivity rate.
The numbers the governor's office released on Tuesday say there are an additional 1,919 cases since Monday and 525 people are now hospitalized, 25 more than on Monday.
Of the 525 patients who are currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, 400, or 76.2%, are not fully vaccinated, according to the governor's office.
“You can just see that this germ is like a heat-seeking missile, really going right at the unvaccinated, but also, the number of folks in,” Lamont said.
The state releases data on COVID-19 associated deaths once per week every Thursday and the governor's office said the most recently reported total number of deaths is 8,909.
Lamont said he is not thinking about mandates or restrictions at this point.
He said he watches closely the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
The state has gone from 200 to more than 500 hospitalizations.
“We were at 2,000, as you remember, about a year and a half ago, so we still have capacity” Lamont said. “I still feel like our hospitals are in very good shape. That’s the key metric I look at.”
He urged people to be cautious, be careful and watch out for big crowds.
Connecticut Public Health Commissioner on Rising COVID-19 Cases
Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said the rising cases have the state moving in the wrong direction.
She said it is typical to see more viral respiratory infections in winter months. That, paired with increasing case rates in surrounding states and waning immunity from COVID-19 vaccines received in the spring have all contributed to the "perfect storm" she describes as contributing to the rising cases.
Dr. Juthani recommends that everyone 18 and up get a booster shot six months after their first vaccine series, and encourages everyone to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
"We have so many tools in front of us that we did not have a year ago in the form of the vaccine and boosters. But we still need to do a better job in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities," she wrote.