COVID-19 Update June 17, 2020: Lowest Hospitalization Rates Since Mid-March, Only 1.2% Positivity Rate

On the first day of Phase 2 in Connecticut’s reopening as part of the state’s coronavirus response efforts, Gov. Ned Lamont announced two positive milestones:  test results reported for Wednesday, June 17 represent the lowest percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in Connecticut since the pandemic began. Out of the 6,430 tests reported since Tuesday, June 16, only 80 were positive, representing a 1.2% positivity rate. In addition, with a total of 188 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, hospitalization rates in the state dipped below 200 for the first time since mid-March.

“I can’t stop saying how impressed I am at the people of Connecticut for listening to the advice of public health professionals and taking the appropriate actions to bend the curve,” Lamont said. “The people of Connecticut are having an impact, and that is exactly why our state has been identified as one of only a handful in the nation to be ‘trending better.’ However, this isn’t over, and the last thing we want is to set ourselves back and erase all of the progress we’ve made. Each of us needs to continue doing our part to prevent a renewed spread of this virus. Seeing so many people wearing masks and having this resulting data tells me our residents are looking out for each other.”

By the Numbers (June 17)

The CT Data Center reported the following for Wilton (as of June 16):

  • Total Wilton cases:  207 (-1 since June 15)
    • Confirmed:   180
    • Probable:   27
  • Total Wilton tests:
    • Residents tested:  1,150 (+9 since June 15)
    • Tests performed:  1,452 (+12 since June 15)
    • Negative test results:  1,220 (+13 since June 15)
    • Positive test results:  232 (-1 since June 15)
  • Total Wilton deaths:  41 (no change since June 13)
    • Laboratory-confirmed:  20
    • Probable deaths:  21

The State does not provide detailed data on antibody testing.

CT DPH reported the following for Fairfield County as of June 17:

  • Total Fairfield County Cases:  16,381 (+22 since June 16)
    • Confirmed:  15,757
    • Probable:  624
  • Total Fairfield County Deaths:  1,352 (+2 since June 16)
    • Confirmed:  1,058
    • Probable:  294
  • Total Current Fairfield County Hospitalized patients:  68 (-2 since June 16)

CT DPH reported the following for statewide as of June 17:

  • Total CT cases:  45,429 (+80 since June 16)
    • Confirmed: 43,487
    • Probable:  1,942
  • Total CT deaths:  4,219 (+9 since June 16)
  • Total Current State hospitalized patients:  186 (-15 since June 16)
  • Total tests performed in CT: 365,916 (+6,430 since June 16)

It is important to note that these newly reported updates include data that occurred over the last several days to a week. All data in this report are preliminary, and data for previous dates will be updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected. Hospitalization data were collected by the Connecticut Hospital Association. Deaths* reported to either OCME or DPH are included in the daily COVID-19 update.

Visit the state’s coronavirus webpage for several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups.

CT Dept. of Transportation Phase 2 Updates:  Reminding Travelers to Wear Face Coverings; Danbury Line Service Remains Suspended

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced a number of steps it has taken to prioritize safety for all users of the transportation system as the state enters Phase 2 of its return to pre-COVID operations.

Train and bus service is gradually being augmented to provide service to additional travelers who are beginning to travel again for work and other purposes.

First and most importantly, public transportation users can help protect themselves, fellow riders, and transit workers by wearing face coverings and not riding public transportation when they are sick. This is the most effective way to promote public safety. CTDOT has also directed service providers to continue intensive daily cleaning of buses and rail cars until further notice. On the bus system, riders will continue to board through the rear door on buses so equipped. Some buses already feature clear plastic dividers between the bus driver and the general public and CTtransit is moving forward with the procurement and installation of additional driver barriers on other buses. These barriers are expected to be installed before Labor Day.

As the weather has improved and traffic volumes were depressed, the state saw a larger number of individuals walking and biking in many cities and towns. CTDOT is encouraging pedestrians to “Stop the Spread, Bump the Button” at pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrians are advised–in English and Spanish–to use their elbow or arm, rather than their hands, to push the button for a walk signal. CTDOT has adhered “Bump the Button” decals to call buttons along state roadways and begun to replace agency-managed pedestrian crosswalk call buttons in several large cities, including Hartford and New Haven, with modern, larger call buttons for “bumping.” Additional cities will be considered for these call button upgrades as funding permits.

“In the months since the coronavirus pandemic began, we have worked hard to prepare for a return to something approaching pre-COVID ‘normalcy,’” Transportation Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti said. “Travel on buses and trains was restricted to essential travel only. Now, with people re-engaging with our economy, we want to reassure the safety for all users on our trains, buses, roadways, and sidewalks. I want to thank our customers and citizens for their patience and understanding, and our operators for their continued support and commitment to the safety of the public.”

Rail service on the New Haven Line, Hartford Line, and Shore Line East continues to operate on a limited schedule. Although ridership, once down by more than 90 percent, is gradually beginning to build, there is substantial capacity for returning riders. Danbury Line and Waterbury Line service remains suspended to accelerate ongoing capital projects, while ridership levels remain at historic lows.

Bus service continues to operate on regular weekday and weekend schedules, providing service to countless essential workers who have continued to ride throughout the public health emergency. Bus ridership saw reductions of approximately 50 percent during the early weeks of the public health emergency. Ridership has begun to increase modestly following the Phase 1 reopening.

The pandemic also had the effect of dramatically reducing highway traffic volumes while at the same time causing a sharp uptick in speeding. CTDOT joined with the Connecticut State Police in a program urging motorists to slow down and “Help Our Heroes” – with electronic message boards along highways promoting the effort. As Connecticut enters Phase 2 of the recovery, CTDOT is continuing to stress dangers posed by speeding and encouraging travelers to observe speed limits, slow down, and watch out for crews in highway work zones.

CTDOT also reminded travelers that the 23 service plazas on I-95, Route 15, and I-395 are fully open for food, fuel, restrooms, and other amenities and travel conveniences. Enhanced cleaning services have been implemented. The seven rest areas along I-84, I-91, and I-95 have also returned to normal operations and staffing, with enhanced and more frequent cleaning in common areas.