One Week From Phase 3, Governor Assesses Coronavirus In CT

CONNECTICUT — The schools in the state are handling the coronavirus flare-ups “pretty well,” according to Gov. Ned Lamont, but he is monitoring off-campus events, parties and sports closely.

The governor made the remarks on WICC Radio Friday morning as the state prepares to relax the capacity restrictions on restaurants and other venues as part of Phase 3 in its reopening plan following the coronavirus outbreak.

“I don’t want to be ‘Ned Killjoy Lamont,’ but it’s those type of parties where a lot of the infection is taking place,” the governor said.

Lamont said that parties with a large number of people should be held at an event venue “where the people are trained and we know who has been invited to the party, we know that you are wearing a mask and socially distancing.”

Phase 3, scheduled to begin on Oct. 8, will see indoor dining capacity limits increase from 50 percent to 75 percent. Personal services like barber shops will also be able to increase capacity from 50 to 75 percent, as will libraries. Outdoor venues like amphitheaters and racetracks will be able to increase from 25 percent to 50 percent capacity. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Lamont said that coronavirus infection rates in Connecticut had “ticked up a little bit over the past few weeks,” but that New York and Massachusetts had seen spikes as well.

“We are at 1.8-1.9, still one of the lowest (COVID-19 infection rates) in the country,” Lamont said.

The governor expressed more concern over recent coronavirus outbreaks in Colchester and Norwich nursing homes. “If it’s contained in a nursing home, that’s one thing. If it leads to community spread, that’s another thing.” Lamont said he is following federal guidance regarding nursing home visitation and says he is watching the situation in Norwich “carefully.”

The state Department of Public Health issued a COVID-19 alert for Norwich on Thursday. Between Sept. 13-26, the city recorded at least 84 cases of the virus to raise the daily case rate to 24 per 100,000, the highest rate in the state.

The governor said that if he sees Arizona, Florida and Texas infection rates ramping up quickly in the next week, he would “hit the pause button” and hold back on Phase 3. The state is “reacting in real time to keep people safe,” Lamont said, citing the closure of school buildings in Norwich and Danbury after the state-issued infection advisories.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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