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Public Health officials to keep close eye on COVID infections as state reopens

Connecticut Public Health officials plan to pay closer attention to COVID infection and hospitalization rates over the next few weeks as business restrictions end today. 

Governor Ned Lamont doesn't anticipate needing to rollback the reopening if there are spikes.  But he notes that it's easier to get stricter on a broader basis than town by town.  When there were flare ups in places like Danbury, the state brought in more testing and then vaccines.  But he says the state is in a different place now with a loose set of rules.  Lamont says he's confident businesses will come up with rules as they see fit for employees and customers.

In Danbury, 26 percent of the population, per 100,000 still needs to be vaccinated for the City to reach 80-percent inoculation.  To get to every eligible Danbury resident vaccinated, 43-percent have to get a shot. 

Lamont says the infection rates were low last July, August and September but then the numbers climbed back up.  He anticipates a small spike this fall again, but says if the state can get 80 percent of residents vaccinated by then, it won't be bad.

92-percent of Connecticut residents over 65 are vaccinated.  81-percent between ages 55 and 64, some 69-percent of 45 to 54 year olds are vaccinated.  35 to 44 year olds have a 62-percent vaccination rate, 53-percent for 25 to 34 year olds and 48 percent of 18 to 24 year olds are vaccinated.  52 percent of 16 to 18 have received at least 1 dose.  Kids 12 to 15 have a 12-percent vaccination rate in the first four days of eligibility.

With the new mask rules going into effect today in Connecticut, there have been questions about whether businesses or others can ask for proof of COVID vaccination or if that's a violation of HIPAA or other privacy laws.  Governor Lamont COO Josh Geballe says he's not concerned about that being an issue because people have the choice not to answer or shop somewhere else.  He noted that it's not different than the old 'No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service' adage.  He believes vaccines are an important part of keeping people safe right now.

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Jim Bohannon

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