- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2020

Connecticut’s chief epidemiologist said Monday he expects there will eventually be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the state, but the severity will depend upon how much people continue to practice social distancing measures, such as wearing masks and avoiding large groups of people indoors.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, appearing at Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s news briefing, said less than 5% of Connecticut’s population of more than 3.5 million people have so far contracted COVID-19. Considering the coronavirus which causes the disease “is just interested in infecting people,” he said there are still a lot of people in Connecticut who have not yet been infected who still could be.

“I think clearly our goal and the reason why social distancing is so important - and this is not the time to relax at all - is to try to blunt the resurgence when it occurs,” said Cartter, who noted that steps such as staying home when possible and wearing face masks are steps that work. “And if we continue to do that, it would, I think, go a long ways in terms of blunting resurgence.”

However, Cartter stressed that he doesn’t expect the number of cases in Connecticut “to go down to zero” before any resurgence of infections. Rather, he said he expects the state’s current pace of about 80-to-100 new daily cases will continue until they eventually start to increase.

“Whether it goes up sharply or gradually is really up to us and what we do,” Cartter said.

As of Monday, there have been more than 47,500 cases in Connecticut, including an additional 223 cases since Friday. Meanwhile, the number of deaths climbed by 23, to 4,371. Lamont noted that six of those COVID-associated deaths occurred over the weekend while the remaining 17 were previous deaths that had been reported to the state. Lamont said Connecticut’s infection rate is still less than 1%.

Lamont announced that Connecticut plans to join New York in requiring out-of-state air travelers in the coming days to fill out a form that certifies where they will be staying in the state and that they’ll self-quarantine. Right now, the plan is focused just on people who are arriving at Bradley International Airport from states with high COVID-infection rates.

“If we find somebody has tested positive on the flight or otherwise, it makes it easier for us to track and trace and make sure that we keep an eye on things,” he said.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or lead to death.

In other coronavirus related news:



Lamont said Monday he’s aware that Quest Diagnostics, the national commercial lab that has been conducting a lot of the COVID-19 diagnostic testing in the state, has been experiencing processing backlogs as the number of cases increases in other parts of the U.S. There have been reports of having to wait two weeks for results.

The state of Connecticut has a contract with Quest, one of six labs, to handle testing. Lamont said the state might prioritize working with the local labs on that list in order to have more control over the process.

“We’ll have a lot faster turnaround on all that testing. And then perhaps we can spread that some of the primary care folks as well,” said Lamont. His chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, suggested people ask testing sites about which lab they use in order to avoid some of the large commercial labs, which Geballe noted “are quite behind” currently.

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