58 New COVID-19 Deaths in Conn.; 170K Unemployment Claims Backlogged

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There were 58 new coronavirus deaths in Connecticut Wednesday, and a total of 8781 people have tested positive in the state, according to numbers released Thursday evening.

Gov. Ned Lamont reported in his afternoon briefing that there were 49 deaths, but when the state released the numbers later Wednesday night, the number was up to 58.

That brings the total number of deaths to 335.

There are currently 1,418 people hospitalized with the virus. That is an increase of 110 patients since Tuesday. Lamont said it is in line with the hospitalization numbers they have seen over the past few days.

"I think social distancing is working," Lamont said.

The state released some data on how the coronavirus is affecting different ethnic groups in Connecticut.

African-Americans are twice as likely to be infected in Connecticut, according to Gov. Lamont. Hispanics were also more likely to be infected than other ethnic groups in the state.

Unemployment Claims

The state has received 302,000 unemployment claims since March 13, according to the Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby. That is 2 years of normal claim activity in a 1-month time frame, Westby said.

So far, 132,000 claims have been processed, but there are still 170,000 claims that have not been addressed.

Westby said they have quadrupled their staff from 20 to more than 80 processing the claims. They are working overtime and weekends to get the claims processed, he said.

Reopening Schools?

Gov. Lamont said he is closed to making a decision on schools across the state. Currently, he has ordered them closed through April 20, but is likely to change that sometime in the next week.

"We're going to make that decision within a week," Gov. Lamont said. "Obviously I'd love to open up those schools at some point in June if I could, if I thought I could do it safely. Right now I'm not sure I can do that safely."

CT's COVID-19 Peak Could Come in Weeks

The latest forecast from a respected COVID-19 model from the University of Washington shows the peak of the coronavirus in Connecticut might come within two weeks --  on April 22 -- when 138 deaths are expected in a single day. The model projects 4,003 total COVID-19 deaths in the state through the summer.

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