coronavirus in connecticut

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decline as State Prepares to Partially Reopen, Testing Expanding

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The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state of Connecticut is down 70 from a day earlier, according to the governor.

This is one of the largest single-day decreases in hospitalizations, down around 40 percent from the peak a few weeks ago.

The number of hospitalizations is a key figure that Gov. Ned Lamont has been watching as his administration prepares to begin Phase 1 of reopening the state, which is planned for next Wednesday, May 20.

There were 621 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total to 36,085. The state also saw 66 more fatalities. The death toll in Connecticut now stands at 3,285.

Lamont gave an update at 10 a.m. today on the state’s response efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tom Moriarty, the executive vice president and chief policy officer of CVS Health will join the governor in the briefing.

The state is working to increase COVID-19 testing and 12 drive-up testing sites opened at CVS pharmacies today and the company plans to have 25 by the end of the month.

CVS is using "swab and send" tests at drive-through tests rather than the Abbott rapid test, which federal officials alerted doctors about for a potential accuracy problem

The governor was asked about COVID-19 testing for people who are asymptomic and the governor said asymptomatic people in vulnerable populations can get tested, including at nursing homes, correctional facilities, as well as people who are homeless, first responders and those who have been inclose contact with someone who test positive.

Josh Geballe, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, did not encourage to the "worrried well" to be tested at this point.

Moriarty said testing criteria will evolve as people with symptoms, emergency workers and those who have had contact with people with the virus have been tested.

Moriarty said CVS has seen a 200 percent increase in mental health services and will be expanding its tele-mental health offerings to front line workers as well as senior citizens.

CVS is also offering free prescription delivery so people can stay safe and stay at home.

The economy has been particularly hard hit and Lamont said the joblessness numbers released on Thursday.

"It's the stuff we haven;t seen since the Great Depression. Much worse than what we saw just in (20)08-09," Lamont said.

He said the job loses are particularly affecting women, people of color and service workers.

The governor addressed safety issues and said the state has been supplying personal protection equipment and masks are available through the CBIA website. Temporal thermometers will be available for small businesses and places of worship, he added.

The first phase of the state reopening will come on May 20, with some businesses opening back up and restaurants being able to take customers seated outside.

The next phase of reopening is expected around June 20 and the governor said some sports that can be played outside might be able to resume in July.

The governor said he is expecting summer school, possibly in July, with small classes and a focus on being outside.

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