The state's COVID-19 test positivity rate came in at 2.63% Monday as virus-related hospitalizations continue to decline, and the governor said the vaccine distribution is on track.
There were 78,634 new tests reported Monday, of which 2,066 came back positive. There are 388 people currently hospitalized with the virus, a net decrease of 40 since Friday.
Twenty-one new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 7,725.
While Gov. Ned Lamont has given many updates on the impact the pandemic has had on the state of Connecticut, this news conference comes one year after announcing the first Connecticut case of COVID-19.
State Reports First Death Tied to COVID-19 Variant First Identified in UK
The state has reported the first death tied to the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, the variant first identified in the UK.
In total the state has seen 81 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and two cases of the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa.
Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update
As of Monday, the state has administered more than 1.1 million vaccine doses - 773,280 first doses and 389,402 second doses. Overall, half of the 55 and older age range have received a first dose - 75% of those 75 and older, 64% of those 65 to 74 and 25% of those 55 to 64.
The state data revealed that 26% of all adults 16 and older have received a first dose.
There are 137,000 first doses arriving in the state this week.
The governor said based on the state's expected vaccine allocation they expect to reach their timelines for age distribution of the vaccine, which would open the next age group, 45-54, up on March 22.
What Does the Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill Mean for Connecticut?
The governor discussed the impacts of the $1.9 trillion federal COVID relief bill that passed the Senate this weekend and is expected to pass in the House later this week.
The American Rescue Plan will offer Connecticut $2.6 billion for state relief and $1.6 billion in local relief. It will be allocated to the end of 2024.
"This is money that's going to be invested to make a difference for people," Lamont said.
Lamont said while the state is still waiting for specific guidance from the federal government, state officials are working on how they will use the federal funding.
In the education sector, the state will focus on school support, learning development and getting students who have been kept out of school by the virus reengaged in academics and get them socialized and back with their peers. This includes the possibility of summer programs for vulnerable students.
Enhanced employment benefits have been extended, with the federal funding offering around $300+ in extra payments for another six months.
Stimulus checks are expected in the coming weeks, including $1,400 for those making up to $75,000 and additional for couples and families. Child credits will also be significant for families.
There will also be child care support and rental and energy assistance support.
CONNECTICUT LIFTING SOME COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
The state will soon be relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions at the end of next week, on March 19.
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That is also the date that Connecticut's COVID-19 travel advisory, which has long required travelers quarantine or test negative after traveling to or from coronavirus hotspot states, will become recommended guidance instead of a requirement.