For the fifth straight day net hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients dropped in Connecticut.
But hospitalizations are just one measure Gov. Ned Lamont is looking at when he contemplates reopening parts of the state he’s shut down through a series of executive orders.
A new analysis Monday by Harvard researchers and STAT found that Connecticut would need to test 15,000 more people per day than it’s currently testing if it wanted to fully reopen on May 1.
Lamont has given his advisory committee on reopening the state until May 20 to deliver a plan, which buys the state a little bit more time to ramp up its testing.
“Our discussion right now is, do you test folks who are showing symptoms? Do you test folks who are non-symptomatic although they are likely to be able to still infect people?” Lamont said.
He said New York used the antibody test to try to determine what the overall level of infections might be in New York City versus Syracuse.
Lamont said right now the key metric for him is hospitalizations.
Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said hospitalizations is a key metric because it’s an indicator of the capacity of the hospitals.
“Testing is probably the tip of the iceberg,” Geballe said. “The more we ramp up testing, the more there may be positives coming in as well if the overall actual infections in the community is going down at the same time.”
The question will be how quickly can Connecticut increase its testing capabilities.
Geballe said they have gone out to bid for testing and expect to make an announcement about that by the end of the week. He said 12 bids have come in and are under review.
The due date for the bids is May 1 and the request for proposals asks for information about testing for COVID-19 and antibody testing.
Geballe said the governor is not looking to flip the switch and reopen everything immediately.
“We’re looking very carefully at the activities that have the greatest job and economic impact, balanced against the lowest public health risk,” Geballe said. “That’s the balance that the team is really studying very carefully.”
On Monday, Connecticut also changed how it reports the total number of tests.
Instead of reporting the number of patients tested, the state switched to reporting the total number of tests given. Some individuals have been tested multiple times.
The total number of tests that have been reported to DPH were 90,746 as of Monday. Previously the state reported that as of Sunday it had tested 79,811, which was an increase of about 2,200 from the previous day. The new reporting reflects the higher number of tests that was actually administered in the state.
A total of 25,997 have tested positive and 2,012 Connecticut residents have died.