The state of Connecticut now has 35,464 confirmed cases of COVID-19; the number of positive cases in the state is up 609 from the day before, and there are 94 more deaths, bringing the total to 3,219. Hospitalizations declined by 55.
A decline in the number of hospitalizations is a key metric in reopening part of the state, which is slated to begin on May 20.
Gov. Ned Lamont was joined by Amy Porter, the commissioner of the Department of Aging and Disability Services, and Dr. Albert Ko, the co-chair of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group during his 2 p.m. briefing.
Testing is a crucial part of the state's plan to handle the pandemic and Lamont said Thursday that mass testing is a priority, focusing on vulnerable populations.
The goal is conduct 42,000 tests a week, starting next week, and increase testing to 100,000 or beyond in June.
As businesses prepare to open, restaurants are getting ready to offer outdoor dining as of May 20, as well as precautions that will need to be in place.
Among the protections are that diners will be required to wear masks except for when they are actually eating or consuming beverages.
When asked about that Koh said risks are lower outside than in confined spaces.
The state has also been reviewing dental office guideline and the Lamont Administration met with dentists, hygienists and occupational safety experts to review guidelines for the reopening of dental offices,
Josh Geballe, the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, said the group is putting their recommendations together and the document could be finalized as soon as tomorrow.
Assuming there is consensus, the opening of dental offices should not be delayed, but dentist offices that do not have the appropriate protective equipment would not open, Geballe said.
When asked about opening schools in light of California's decision, the governor said the thinks it's too early to make that decision . There s a model group as the state slowly reopens state colleges and Connecticut will make the determination later, he said.
Connecticut is reopening weeks after some other states and Lamont said what happens after May 20 will help determine what happens on June 20 and the summer and that will guide the state while moving toward fall.
Ppart of the guidance state officials have given the state's colleges is to assume they will be opening in September, but to make sure they have a contingency plan in case they need to change course.
What happens with parks and playgrounds is at the top of minds for parents as summer approaches and Koh addressed the safety issues, saying wearing masks and maintaining social distancing will be necessary,
The governor said they should listen to the briefings and the state has the right balance now, putting health and safety first.
He added that Dr. Koh and his team helped put together a set of metric and he though the Senate Democrats though the metrics were appropriate.
He said maybe they wanted more testing, but they have exceeded what they planned to do and they have more than enough contract tracing to handle the people they know are affected now.
Dr. Koh was asked about a rare inflammatory syndrome likely connected to COVID-19 and he said Connecticut is starting to identify cases.
He has spoken with Yale New Haven Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and there are four cases at Yale New Haven Hospital and two cases as well as one suspected case in Hartford.