One day before Connecticut's move to partially reopen for the first time since March, Gov. Ned Lamont said the state is ready.
Key metrics about coronavirus cases in Connecticut all trended significantly lower on Tuesday.
The state saw 314 new COVID-19 cases since Monday, bringing the total to 38,430. There were 23 fatalities, which was one of the lowest single-day number of deaths since the pandemic arrived in Connecticut. The death toll now stands at 3,472.
The net number of hospitalizations fell by six, continuing the state's downward trend.
"I think we can proceed on a very thoughtful basis with those businesses that are least likely to be dangerous and most likely to have an economic value for the state. I'm looking forward. I think this is a good day for the state," Lamont said.
The state conducted more than 7,800 tests, with less than 5-percent coming back positive. That was the lowest percentage in months, according to Lamont.
On Monday, Lamont said testing in the state has exceeded the goal set to proceed to reopen on Wednesday. Over the past seven days, the state has conducted 45,000 COVID-19 tests, according to Lamont. The goal was 42,000 per week.
Hair Salon Update
On Tuesday, Lamont said those hair salons will be allowed to open on June 1.
He said guidance on nail salons, massage therapy businesses, and tattoo parlors will come closer to June 20.
As for gyms, the governor said it was too early to open them and that June 20 would be a benchmark for those businesses but not necessarily a target date to reopen them.
'Right Time to Reopen'
The governor was joined at his news briefing on Tuesday by former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and leading health policy expert Ezekiel Emanuel.
Both experts praised Connecticut for its handling of the pandemic and said the state is at a point where it makes sense to begin reopening.
"I think we're at a point in this state - as you rightly note - that we can start to contemplate a thoughtful stage reopening of economic activity having been successful in flattening the curve, and making sure the health care system didn't get overwhelmed," Dr. Gottlieb said.
Both said with summer coming, there is a chance to keep transmission of the virus low, with many people being outside in the warm weather.
"The documented number of transmission cases outdoors is extremely low," Emanuel said.
Emanuel did warn the transmission rates could climb in the fall.
"In the fall, come October, the whole situation is going to reverse, and we cannot let our guard down, lest the coronavirus reignite," Emanuel said.
Flags Return to Full-Staff
Gov. Lamont ordered flags to return to full-staff at sunset on Tuesday. They have been at half-staff since April 8 in recognition and mourning for those who have lost their lives and been affected by coronavirus.