Coronavirus Updates: Connecticut identifies 19 'red alert' cities and towns

Coronavirus Updates: Connecticut identifies 19 'red alert' cities and towns

NEW YORK (WABC) — Eight more communities, many in southeastern Connecticut, were identified by state public health authorities as “red alert towns” after their daily rates of new COVID-19 infections surpassed 15 per 100,000 people since last week.

There are now 19 cities and towns on the weekly list that now have the option of rolling back the state’s third phase of reopening. Residents there are also being urged to wear masks, socially distance, frequently wash their hands, stay home if they’re over 65, cancel gatherings and events with nonrelatives, and get tested regularly, even if they’re healthy.

Two other southeastern Connecticut communities, East Lyme and Preston, were removed from the list, while Groton, Lisbon, Waterford, Plainfield and Salem were added. In other parts of the state, East Hartford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Prospect and Waterbury were identified as red alert communities.

Besides Norwich and New London, Sprague, Windham, Canterbury, Griswold and Montville in eastern Connecticut remained on the list, as well as Hartford and Danbury.

As of Thursday, the statewide positive rate was 2.3%, with 232 people in the hospital, an increase of 19 since Wednesday. Lamont noted that is far fewer than during the height of the pandemic in Connecticut, when there were about 2,000 hospitalizations.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

Schools prepare to reopen in former red zones turned yellow in New York City
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced changes to New York’s coronavirus red zones, allowing for some restaurants to begin offering indoor dining again on Thursday and some schools to reopen for in-person learning Monday. Cuomo said the positivity rate is dropping in some areas, enabling the state to lift some restrictions in certain areas. Officials say 103 schools will fully or partially reopen Monday, as part of the redesignated yellow zone, while 45 school sites that are still in the Red Zone will remain closed. The city reported that the yellow zone testing positivity rate is 0.18%.

With hospitals full of COVID-19 patients, Idaho board repeals mask mandate
Moments after hearing an Idaho hospital was overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care, members of a regional health department board voted Thursday to repeal a local mask mandate. Board member Walt Kirby said he was giving up on the idea of controlling the spread of coronavirus.

“I personally do not care whether anybody wears a mask or not. If they want to be dumb enough to walk around and expose themselves and others, that’s fine with me,” Kirby said. “Nobody’s wearing the damned mask anyway. … I’m sitting back and watching them catch it and die. Hopefully I’ll live through it.”

Another member, Allen Banks, denied COVID-19 exists.

“Something’s making these people sick, and I’m pretty sure that it’s not coronavirus, so the question that you should be asking is, ‘What’s making them sick?'” he told the medical professionals who testified.

New US cases, deaths rose by double digits over last week: HHS
There were 417,899 new cases confirmed during the period between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21. This number was a 14% increase from the previous seven-day period, according to an internal memo by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News.

Murphy in isolation, discourages inter-state travel
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will remain in quarantine and self-isolation due to coming into contact with someone who had coronavirus. He says he will test twice more on Saturday and Monday before returning to public life. The governor also discouraged residents from inter-state travel as positivity in the state is above 5%.

Lowest rents in nearly a decade in Manhattan
The average monthly rent fell below $3,000 for the first time in nearly a decade in Manhattan, according to a study by StreetEasy. The new city report has revealed that the median asking prices for rent in Manhattan have dropped to $2,990, for the first time since 2011.

Movie theaters reopen in most parts of NY
Movie theaters will reopen, with restrictions, in parts of New York, including Long Island on Friday. However, New York City is not yet included in the reopening plan. Theaters can only open in counties with COVID-19 positivity rates below 2%, and theaters will operate at 25% capacity with no more than 50 people.

Wearing masks could save more than 100,000 US lives through February, new study suggests
If 95% of Americans wore masks in public, more than 100,000 lives could be saved from COVID-19 through February, a new modeling study suggests. The study — from the COVID-19 forecasting team at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — notes that, as of September 21, only about 49% of US residents reported that they “always” wear a mask in public. If mask-wearing remains 49% through February and states continue with removing social distancing mandates, the COVID-19 death toll across the United States could reach about 1 million deaths by February 28, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine on Friday.

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