Credit: Courtesy of the CDC

As of Friday afternoon, Connecticut’s test positivity rate was 13.71% and there were 323 residents hospitalized with the virus.

On Thursday, the Department of Public Health reported that 158 of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities qualified for the state’s “red alert” distinction for COVID-19, which is triggered when a community records at least 15 daily cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period.

Easton has recorded the most per-capita COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks of any town or city, followed by Old Lyme, Guilford, Fairfield, Westport and Woodbridge.

Hartford, New Haven and Middlesex Counties qualify as having “high” levels of COVID-19, according to the CDC, while the state’s other five counties have “medium” levels. 

Under the CDC’s COVID-19 transmission map, all eight counties are listed as having “high” transmission.

The increase of COVID has been particularly steep in schools with Connecticut reporting Thursday 4,732 new cases among students, up from 3,018 last week and the most in a week since January. Additionally, 1,431 school staff tested positive, which is also the most since January when the omicron variant was dominant.

The mask mandate for schools ended February 28. 

“The latest update comes as no surprise considering the trajectory that this latest omicon sub-variant is taking,” DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani said. “And I cannot stress enough that the tools to combat this virus are in place and easily accessible.” 

Residents living in those counties with high transmission, like Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham Counties, should wear a mask indoors in public and stay up-to-date on their vaccinations. 

The CDC said residents who live in Fairfield and New London Counties should talk to their health care providers about when they should wear a mask.