Connecticut's COVID-19 test positivity rate came in at 4.49% Tuesday, and the state saw an increase in hospitalizations.
Public health officials also confirmed that the B.1.526 variant, first identified in New York, has been reported in Connecticut.
There were 20,009 new tests reported Tuesday, of which 898 came back positive. There are 403 people currently hospitalized with the virus, a net increase of 14 from the day before. Four new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 7,845.
The state Department of Public Health also confirmed Tuesday that they have found cases of the B.1.526 variant in Connecticut. The Jackson Laboratory said they have sequenced 45 cases of the variant, making it the second most common variant in Connecticut. The first is the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the UK.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
"The increase in B.1.526 over the last month or so highlights the importance of genomic surveillance for understanding how the viral strains are shifting over time, particularly since some variants may increase transmissibility or affect response to monoclonal antibody therapies," Mark Adams, deputy director of of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine explained.
DPH said there are three levels of variant categories they consider - those of "high consequence," those of "concern," and those of "interest." The B.1.526 is considered of interest at this point, officials said. Meanwhile, the variant strains that have shown evidence of increased transmissibility - such as the B.1.1.7 variant, the B.1.351 variant (first found in South Africa), P.1.427 and P.1.429 variants (first found in California) and the P.1 variant (first found in Brazil) are categorized as of concern.
The other variants mentioned have also been found in Connecticut.
State officials have said while they are watching the spread of the variants carefully, they are encouraged with the state's vaccination efforts. Last Friday the state relaxed some COVID-19 capacity restrictions at different businesses.
How to Get an Appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut
By phone: Call Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for scheduling at select sites.
Online: Schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment in VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System.
- Fill out the form to let the Department of Public health know you are interested in creating an account in VAMS. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine then you should receive an email from VAMS to complete your registration within 12 hours. Click here to create an account.
- Check for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the link in the email and create your account. You will be prompted to retrieve a code that will be emailed to you. You will need to create a password and store it in a safe place.
- If you forgot your password, the "forgot password" link on the login page can only be used if you have created a password as part of your VAMS registration.
- Complete your VAMS registration.
- The first question that will be asked in VAMS is “Have you already registered as a vaccine recipient with VAMS?” The answer to this question is “No.”
- Questions with a red asterisk are mandatory.
- Insurance information does not need to be entered.
- You will be prompted to share some additional information about yourself.
- In order for VAMS to recognize your option chosen for race, click on your choice in the box on the left and click the right-pointing arrow to move your choice to the box on the right.
- Use your zip code to search for clinics near you in VAMS.
- The system will automatically search for clinics within a 10-mile radius of your zip code, but you may choose up to 100 miles from the dropdown menu, which might provide more clinic locations in your search results.
- You might need to check multiple clinic locations to find an available appointment. Find a slot that works for you, and book your appointment.