Connecticut could undergo a statewide shutdown around Christmas as Covid-19 cases continue to proliferate.
As of this morning, the state Department of Public Health has recorded 118,754 confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases – an increase of 1,459 over the previous 24 hours – and 5,040 coronavirus-related deaths, up 20 over the same period. Hospitalizations rose by 54 to stand at 1,152.
The statewide daily positivity rate sits at 5.88%.
During a radio interview yesterday, Gov. Ned Lamont said he planned to consult with governors of neighboring states about a possible shutdown.
“Let’s see closer to Christmas what things look like,” Lamont said. “Let me talk to my fellow governors, because it probably doesn’t work as well if just Connecticut did something like that. Look, that is a pretty slow time. Kids already are not in school (and) you’re probably not doing as much shopping and dining. So that is a possibility.”
Meanwhile, the governor said on Monday that the state could receive 20,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine within the next couple of weeks.
“We are going to get it before the end of the year, the middle of December, Dec. 14 is the date they are hoping for, for Pfizer.”
This morning came word that the United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to approve a vaccine, by giving emergency authorization to the one developed by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech. As a result, deliveries to hospitals and other health care providers should begin next week.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that long-term care residents and staff, including those at nursing homes and assisted living communities, would be included in the first round of vaccine distribution.
“More than 100,000 long-term care residents have died from this virus in the U.S. and our nursing homes are now experiencing the worst outbreak of new cases since last spring with more than 2,000 residents succumbing to this virus each week,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
That organization represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately 5 million people each year.
“Given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus combined with the explosion of community spread across the U.S., we are extremely hopeful this vaccine will literally be a lifesaver for thousands of residents and expedite the reopening of our facilities to family members and loved ones,” Parkinson said.
“Now it is up to the governors and state health agencies to implement these recommendations and ensure our long term care residents and staff are prioritized in the actual rollout of the vaccine to provide this protection as soon as possible,” he said.
Also this morning, Lamont announced that by distributing 144,000 laptops, Connecticut is the first state in the nation to provide a learning device to every PK-12 student in need.
The nonprofit Partnership for Connecticut, headed by Barbara and Ray Dalio, spent $24 million in March to provide 60,000 laptops to high school students in need. In July, Lamont launched the Everybody Learns initiative, which included a $43.5 million investment from the state’s portion of the federal CARES Act, to buy 82,000 laptops and 44,000 at-home internet connections for Connecticut students.
“Over the past eight months, we made significant progress in closing digital divides, especially for students of color and those in low-income communities,” the governor said. “The work does not end here. My administration will continue to fight to ensure every last student in Connecticut receives a high-quality education, whether in person or remotely.”
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