Connecticut’s COVID positivity rating jumped to 2.4% Tuesday, which is the highest it’s been since June, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.
An estimated 2% of Connecticut’s 8,000 hospital beds are being used by COVID patients at the moment.
Connecticut is fast approaching the number of cases it uses to put other states on a travel advisory that asks visitors to quarantine when they arrive in the state.
Right now it’s at about 8 or 9 cases per 100,000, according to Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe. To get on Connecticut’s travel advisory, a state has to have 10 cases per 100,000.
“I think overall the travel advisory has been very effective,” Lamont said.
He added that it’s “discouraged some unnecessary travel, but obviously this net is getting wider—we have to rethink it.”
The state’s positivity rate had been hovering above 1% for the past few weeks.
“When you see the positivity rate going from less than 1 percent to one, one-and-a-half, now 2.4, it’s not unexpected, but it’s incredibly unnerving and a little exhausting,” Lamont said.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations rose by 17 on Monday, bringing the total to 172. That is another number the state has not seen since June.
State officials attributed the increase to more “person-to-person” contact within family units.
“I expect them to be more brush fires than they are wildfires,” Dr. Albert Ko, an epidemiologist with Yale University said.
“The key players in preventing COVID are going to be our fellow citizens,” Ko said. “And their understanding, their awareness of face mask use and basic social distancing.”
He said large gatherings or super-spreading events will cause the numbers of positive cases to increase more rapidly.
The increasing rate “certainly tells us we have work to do,” Ko said.
But enforcement of curtailing large families gatherings is difficult.
“Really what I can best do is use the bully pulpit to urge people to be particularly careful now during this season leading up to Thanksgiving,” Lamont said.
Ko said not everybody who lives in a household where a family member has been infected will get the virus.
“It’s only about 10 to 15 percent of the people,” Ko said.
He said the rough rule is that 20% of the people are responsible for about 80% of the transmission.
Ko said they will have to rely on education to prevent those large gatherings from taking place.
They will also have to depend on local public health officials because each region of the state is different.
He said, “The actions have to be tailored to the local environment.”