A Centers for Disease Control map of Connecticut COVID levels

COVID-19 transmission in New Haven County was high enough Friday for the Centers for Disease Control to designate it an area of “High” community virus levels where Connecticut residents are advised to wear masks while indoors in public.

As of Friday, New Haven County was the only area of the state to be listed as having high COVID levels by the federal agency. Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, and New London Counties were all classified as having “Medium” levels of the virus while Hartford, Tolland, and Windham Counties were considered “Low.”

In a press release, Dr. Manisha Juthani, state public health commissioner, said residents should take appropriate steps to protect themselves from the virus.

“As we approach the dog days of summer, I want to remind all Connecticut residents that the tools are in place and easily accessible to combat this virus,” Juthani said. “These include vaccines, first and second boosters, Test to Treat locations, therapeutics, self-tests, and state-supported testing.”

According to the state’s weekly COVID-19 report released on Thursday, Connecticut’s positivity rate continued to rise this week. It stood at 11.79%, a growth of more than 1% over last week. Meanwhile, another 16 people were hospitalized with the virus, bringing the current statewide total to 328.

During a press conference following a meeting of the State Bond Commission on Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont said he expected the Education Department to release updated COVID mitigation guidelines for local school districts early next week, giving parents and local school administrators time to prepare ahead of the next academic year.

“We’re getting guidance early next week from the federal government as well in terms of what to expect this fall,” Lamont said. “I think what we’ve learned is people have the ability to keep themselves safe and I think that will be the main message. So we’re not talking about mandates but we are saying, ‘Look, you’ve got a few more days if you want to get the free rapid test from the federal government, sign on now.’”

The governor said he did not expect to see many Connecticut students required to quarantine next year, unless they show symptoms.

“That’s teasing it, now let’s let the experts play that out over the next week,” Lamont said.