Lamont: Covid-19 Positivity rate less than 4%. “That’s remarkable.” Some easing of rules.

During his media briefing on Monday, Feb 1, Governor Ned Lamont reviewed Connecticut’s Covid-19 numbers, which featured good news.

He also announced some easing of rules, including an extension of business curfews, including restaurants, from 10:00pm to 11:00pm. (In New York has a 10:00pm curfew).

Houses of worship will keep their 50% occupancy rule, but will have no cap on a total number. Masks and distancing are required.

Connecticut ranks #3 nationally in terms of percentage of residents vaccinated.

Lamont said more good news was that the daily test positivity rate continued to trend downward, and had dropped to 3.86%.

“For the first time in several months, the positivity rate, 7-day average, is less than 4%,” he said. “That’s remarkable.”

Hospitalizations were also trending down. On Monday there were 912 patients hospitalized, a decrease of 73 over the previous three days.

“That is nine straight days of declining hospitalizations…Fatalities are beginning to trend down a little bit.”

Governor Ned Lamont, Feb 1, 2021

As of Monday Connecticut had 7,119 Covid-19 associated deaths, which was 73 more than three days earlier.

The Governor noted that across the country, infections and hospitalizations were down about 14%.

Unfortunately, the severe snow storm meant the state did not vaccinate people on Monday – about 10,000 appointments were canceled – but otherwise vaccinations were “on track” and the lost day would be made up by Sunday.

Lamont said that in Connecticut 45% of residents age 75+ – those most likely to suffer complications – had had at least their first vaccination.

He pointed out there was an “incredible disparity” among towns in CT in terms the percentage having been vaccinated.

The interactive chart shows, by town, as of Feb 1, the percent of residents 75+ who have had their first vaccination.

Several towns were “champs” with over 80% of residents age 75+, and others have less than 25%.

Greenwich’s total first dose coverage is 54.52%.

Interactive map with data from the CT Dept of Public Health

Connecticut has administered 425,000 doses, of which 111,000 doses were in the last week alone. A total of 86,000 people have received their second of the two required doses.

“We are ramping up,” he said.

Connecticut ranks number three on the list of states for its rate of vaccination.

He said there had been much discussion about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccination and additional supply.

“It’s worth remembering that all of these vaccines are incredibly effective at keeping you from severe complications, and keeping you out of the hospital and virtually 100% effective at preventing fatalities.”

As for new variants of the virus, Lamont said the MRNA vaccines are very adaptable as they provide genetic instructions which protect the body from the virus.

His administration has been in contact with pharmaceutical companies who he said have a high degree of confidence about upgrading vaccines, and coming up with booster shots that make vaccines even more effective against these variants.

Lamont commended the 4,000 medical reserve corp volunteers, including many retired nurses, who made a tremendous difference in administering the vaccines.

Vaccines and Variants

Dr. Marietta Vazquez, MD a pediatric infectious disease specialist whose expertise is in vaccines, said variants are expected.

She said the three variants – B117 identified in the UK, B1351 in South Africa and P1, identified in travelers from Brazil to Japan – all seem to be targeted by the existing vaccines.

“The more individuals who get vaccinated, the less virus is going to circulate in the community, and the fewer opportunities that if these variants continue to occur, they will have an impact on the people in CT, the US and around the world,” she said.