Lamont: Within Six Weeks, Anyone Who Wants a Vaccine Will Have That Option

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State officials are optimistic that vaccine supply will soon be at a level to meet demand, Gov. Ned Lamont said in a press briefing Thursday.

Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Update

To date, the state has administered 1,258,847 total doses, with 445,231 people fully vaccinated. The state reports that 76% of those 75 and older have had at least one dose, 67% of those 65-74, and 32% of those 55-64.

Overall, 29% of all adults 16 and older have been vaccinated.

The state is encouraging people who booked vaccine appointments farther out to check back for a better appointment time as more doses come into the state.

"I think you're going to find within six weeks everyone who wants a vaccine will have that option," Lamont said.

The governor also said that they are still lagging in their goals for higher-risk populations.

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"We still have some work to do when we come to our most underserved populations," Lamont said Thursday.

The state's goal is to administer 25% of vaccines to residents of 50 socially vulnerable, or SVI, zipcodes, while right now they are hitting around 20%.

Officials said they are working with local leaders in different towns and cities on strategies of outreach, including mobile clinics set up at senior centers and churches, door-to-door campaigns to get people signed up for vaccinations, and outgoing phone calls to offer people a chance to ask questions to make sure they are ready to get vaccinated.

Latest Connecticut Coronavirus Numbers

Connecticut's COVID-19 test positivity rate came in at 2.36% Thursday.

There were 31,185 new tests reported Thursday, with 735 coming back positive. There are 383 people currently hospitalized with the virus, a net decrease of seven. Nine new deaths were reported.

The governor noted that the state has seen a decrease in the number of tests administered, down from an average of around 300,000 a week to around 200,000. He also noted that while the positivity rate is hovering in the 2 to 3% range, the positive cases tend to be younger people with less risk for hospitalization and death.

The briefing comes as Connecticut and the rest of the nation mark one year since the pandemic lockdowns began.

Looking at Strategies to Support Education

The state is slated to receive an estimated $1.1 billion in education funding from the American Rescue Plan, money that the state intends to put toward three key areas - enhanced summer learning and enrichment, learning for college credit, and summer internships. They will also focus on reengaging students in social activities that they have missed out on by being out of the classroom.

However, while officials say it's critical to get students back into the classroom, they say comfort level will be a big challenge.

"The basic thing of feeling safe of coming back into a school environment. We're hoping actually that as educators are vaccinated and more families are also in that space, that there will be a feeling of reengagement too as we are addressing social isolation," state Department of Education Acting Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said.

Funding for Mental Health Initiatives

The state will also receive funding for mental health, which they will focus on increases for school behavioral health programs, support for substance abuse programs, funding for youth suicide prevention, and address other needs stemming from the pandemic.

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said the additional funding will allow them to expand existing programs and offer more support services, but it is key that the public knows that resources are available to them. For more information on existing services, click here.

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