Courtesy of CT.GOV
Sen. Saud Anwar of South Windsor (Courtesy of CT.GOV)

HARTFORD, CT —At Gov. Ned Lamont’s Monday press briefing, Dr. Saud Anwar, who is also a Democratic state senator, expressed caution about reopening on May 20.

“While I know your vision is to have May 20th as an opening time, I’m a little bit concerned from a medical point of view,” Anwar said. “And hopefully we can talk about that aspect.”

Anwar, who helped develop a 3D-printed valve – the Ventilator Quad Splitter  – that could allow a single ventilator to treat up to seven patients per unit, said just because the number of deaths isn’t as high as the day before “does not necessarily mean we are stable.”

He said Connecticut residents still have to stick to the basics and wear masks and keep their distance.

He said all it would take to overwhelm the intensive care unit of a hospital is 100 nursing home patients. Anwar said they’ve already seen 43 people die at Kimberly Hall North in Windsor.

“This disease spreads like fire,” Anwar said.

Rep. William Petit Jr., a retired endocrinologist, said while the virus has affected those over the age of 60 the most, there are people in their 20s and 30s who come down with the disease and die within a couple of weeks, “so we really don’t understand the susceptibility and some of the variations.”

Petit said people are looking for very specific advice from the 50-member Reopen Committee that’s chaired by Indra Nooyi and Dr. Albert Ko. 

“If restaurants and nail salons can open in two weeks, then they want a specific list of things they must do,” Petit said. “Businesses need the time it will take to secure the protective equipment.”

Petit emphasized that some people may be asymptomatic and others shed the virus for 14 days, putting many other people at risk.

“I think we can begin to slowly reopen,” Petit said. But he said that needs to be done with very specific guidance from the Department of Public Health.

As of Monday, a total of 30,173 people have tested positive, and 2,556 Connecticut residents have died.

Lamont said those are “less important metrics for me,” than the hospitalizations and testing numbers.

“Fatalities are going down a little bit but that’s a lagging indicator,” Lamont said. “The number of positives are a factor of how much testing we’re doing.”

He said he would look at the percentage of people being tested. That’s because if a high percentage of tests come back positive, it’s clear there’s not enough testing to capture all of the infected people in the community.

The White House criteria to move to Phase 1 of reopening include a sustained, 14-day decline in new cases of COVID-19 and a decline in hospitalizations.

In Connecticut, hospitalizations are down for the 12th straight day to 1,464.

A total of 105,330 people have been tested. That’s 2,837 more than Sunday, but it’s not the 6,000 per day that Ko said would give them confidence to move forward with reopening.

Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, said a shortage of nasal swabs has held back an expansion of testing recently. He said the materials are now on the way. 

Geballe said they are enthusiastic about testing that would be done using saliva.

“We’re very optimistic in the coming weeks we’re going to see a significant impact in our testing,” Geballe said.

CT COVID-19 Briefing: 4:15 p.m., Monday, May 4

Gov. Ned Lamont will be joined by state Sen. Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), a medical doctor with specializations in pulmonology and critical care medicine who serves as vice chair of the legislature’s Public Health Committee; and state Rep. William Petit, Jr. (R-Plainville, New Britain), a retired endocrinologist who serves as ranking member of the Public Health Committee.

The state is planning to present its COVID-19 data a little differently today after notifying us of a pending change a few days ago.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Monday, May 4, 2020