- Associated Press - Monday, December 28, 2020

Gov. Ned Lamont and a top advisor said Monday they’re pleased so far with the pace of vaccinations in Connecticut, noting staff and residents at two-thirds of the state’s more than 200 nursing homes are on track to have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this coming weekend.

To date, 36,276 doses have been administered in the state, mostly to hospital staff and nursing home staff and residents. Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer, noted the number is likely larger considering there’s a time lag with some of the reporting from Walgreens and CVS, which are running vaccination clinics.

“Our hospitals have been doing a fantastic job of getting folks vaccinated. Nursing homes really started to ramp up last week. And we got deliveries out to over 40 federally qualified health centers, local health departments, kind of in middle of last week,” Geballe said. ”So those will really ramp up this week.”

Geballe noted that on both Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, more than 7,000 vaccinations were done each day. He said that’s the “run rate” the state needs to meet when it begins receiving the 57,000 doses a week promised by the federal government.

“I think overall, the state has done a fantastic job ramping up,” he said. “Per capita, we’re over 40% more vaccinations already completed than in New York State, as an example. In the states I’ve seen publishing, we’re doing extremely well.”



Staff and residents of assisted living facilities and residential care homes are expected to begin getting vaccinated as soon as next week, Geballe said. Some first responders are also getting vaccinated during this first phase.

Geballe said the second phase of vaccinations, known as 1B, will include certain categories of front-line essential workers, people over age 75 and “potentially some other populations” the state’s vaccine allocation committee is considering right now. While the details are still being worked out, he said people eligible for the vaccine in the coming weeks will be loaded into a system where they can log in and search for a nearby vaccination clinic based on their zip code, see what time slots are available and learn about what documentation they’ll need to bring with them.

“So sit tight for now.” he said. “There’ll be a lot more guidance coming about this as we approach phase 1B, but that’s still a few weeks away.”

Geballe said the allocation advisory group hopes to provide Lamont with recommendations on the next phases of vaccine distribution as soon as next week.

Since Thursday, there have been nearly 8,500 new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut. The number of hospitalizations grew by 19 to 1,219, while the number of COVID-associated deaths increased by 113, to 5,904.

In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:

UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Lamont said Connecticut expects to receive $695 million in unemployment assistance, under the new federal COVID relief bill that President Donald Trump signed on Sunday. The figure includes an extra $300 a week in payments, which could start within a couple of weeks, and funding for other pandemic initiatives including the state’s shared work program. The initiative helps businesses prevent layoffs by allowing them to temporarily reduce employee hours and use partial unemployment benefits to offset a worker’s lost wages.

Meanwhile, residents across Connecticut are expected to receive a total of $1.6 billion in stimulus checks, if the $600 amount is not changed by Congress.

Additionally, the state expects to receive $237 million in federal funds for rental assistance; $745.5 million for education expenses; nearly $312 million for vaccine distribution, COVID testing and tracing; nearly $67 million for child care; $210 million for urban transit; and $41.4 million to help with funeral expenses.

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