While Connecticut's COVID-19 positivity rate remains below 1% and hospitalizations remained flat, Gov. Ned Lamont expressed concern Thursday over the potential for a resurgence of the coronavirus in the fall while urging residents to practice social distancing and safety measures over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
The state reported 101 new cases since Wednesday from 14,234 tests for a 0.7% positivity rate, the governor reported. Hospitalizations remained flat at 65 patients around the state. One COVID-19 related death occurred in the state, according to the Department of Public Health.
The governor said the infection rate in Danbury has also gone down from 7& to 3.5% following a recent outbreak there.
UConn Coaches Weigh in on Safety Advice Ahead of Holiday Weekend
The governor was joined at his Thursday afternoon news conference by UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and men's basketball coach Dan Hurley.
The governor's news conference comes as many students are heading back to school for the fall and as the state prepares for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
"Even though it's a great weekend to be out, partying, having cookouts, and whatever, the main thing is understand this is not business as usual," Auriemma said. "Continue doing what you've been doing. There's a reason we're the best in the country at what we do -- both in basketball and in beating this COVID-19. My advice would be have a great time this weekend, enjoy your friends, your family. Do the things that make you happy but at the same time do the things that have put us where we are."
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"Don't be complacent, don't let up, don't relax," Hurley said. "Follow the guidelines. Be disciplined. Remember we're all on the same team here. The Huskies are Connecticut's team so let's act like it and let's all get through this together."
Labor Day Weekend Concerns
The governor is asking residents of other states, including Rhode Island to stay home this weekend and leave Connecticut beaches for residents to be able to maintain social distancing, he said.
State police are preparing to step up patrols for the holiday weekend to monitor large gatherings violating orders on gathering sizes, said Josh Geballe, the state's Chief Operating Officer.
Governor Lamont said the health experts he talked to tell him that if there is going to be a second surge of COVID-19 that it will come in the November - December timeframe.
"That is a flu season, COVID is a type of flu -- they probably will go hand in hand if that happens at all," said the governor.
Lamont said the concern grows if residents do not get their traditional flu vaccines which could lead to confusion.
"If we are going to have a resurgence, November will obviously be a very tough month," Lamont said. He stressed he feels the state is now more prepared than it was at the start of the pandemic to handle any spike.
"Let's hope to God this doesn't happen," the governor said.
Lamont addressed concerns around testing availability for members of school communities returning back to school. The state is putting together a rapid response testing team for schools and child care clusters to be able to deploy as a mobile unit where needed, the governor said.
How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart
This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 50th case.
Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC