HARTFORD, CT — It’s the sixth day of the first phase of reopening and Connecticut has tested about 6.5% of its population, according Gov. Ned Lamont.
“We’re ramping up very quickly,” Lamont said at Tuesday’s daily briefing.
However, the number of tests performed over the past seven days was 39,842. That’s slightly below the 42,000 tests recommended by epidemiologists.
In phase one, the goal of testing is to identify new community spread and limit hospitalizations, according to a document created by the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee. By mid-summer the state is expecting to conduct 100,000 tests per week to help protect high-risk and vulnerable populations.
A new document released Tuesday by the Lamont administration says that Connecticut will advance to phase two if there’s not a net increase in hospitalizations over a seven day period leading up to June 20. The state won’t move to another phase if there’s a 200 bed increase in hospitalizations since the start of the previous phase.
The other criteria it will need to meet in order to advance to phase two includes 100,000 tests a week and contact tracing of 50% of the identified contacts within 48 hours. It must also develop a testing plan for key workers and priority high-risk communities.
The 44-page PowerPoint presentation the Lamont administration released Tuesday says the guidelines for phase two and phase three of the reopening are still being developed.
Phase two of the reopening includes hotels, gyms and fitness clubs, nail salons and tattoo parlors, movie theaters, libraries, bowling alleys, and indoor dining at restaurants. Also summer day camps can open the last week of June and summer school can start July 6.
Lamont is pleased with how the state is handling the first phase of the reopening, which allows outdoor dining at restaurants.
Lamont, who went out to dinner on Friday with West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor at the Delamar, said he thinks people are generally social distancing and respecting the guidelines he issued regarding face coverings.
Cantor said her town’s health department is fielding calls about enforcement, but they are not doing anything more than making a strong request to comply at the moment.
“We are strongly recommending everyone wear a face covering in West Hartford Center,” Cantor said. ”It’s going to be hard at certain times to remain six feet apart.”
Cantor said sometimes people don’t know whether a group of more than five is a family unit, so sometimes they get reported without reason. She said for the most part it’s just education.
“Outdoors is so much safer, and seniors staying home is so much safer,” Lamont said.
Lamont is still trying to discourage the two-federally recognized tribes from opening up their casinos in southeastern Connecticut on Monday.
Lamont said officials from the Department of Consumer Protection, Department of Public Health and the Department of Economic and Community Development went to inspect the Mohegan Sun Casino Tuesday and expect to visit Foxwoods Resort Casino later this week.
“We asked them to go there and basically do a thorough review and go through the plans,” Paul Mounds, Lamont’s chief of staff, said. “And really provide back to the governor feedback on it.”
Lamont said if the casinos don’t meet his standards, then he will have no choice but to warn people against traveling to the them.
“A big large congregate setting that attracts older people from all over the region is not good unless it’s done right,” Lamont said. “And right now we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s done right.”
Last week the casinos invited the media on a tour of their facilities to see the new cleaning and temperature-taking technology they’ve deployed to keep their guests and staff safe.
“I think I’ve said that June 1 is too early,” Lamont said, adding that he wants the Mohegan Tribal Nation and the Mashantucket Pequots to delay a couple weeks.
The tribes, which are sovereign nations, are not interested in delaying a June 1 opening.