COVID cases rising  

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — The 2,042 new cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday represented the third highest single-day total of the pandemic since daily tracking started in March.

It was the second time this month that the daily case count topped 2,000 since the 2,746 cases recorded last Thursday exceeded the previous single-day high of 2,109 cases set on April 22.

The overall number of reported cases has increased 66% from 58,297 on Oct. 1 to 97,028 through Tuesday night as a second wave of the coronavirus disease has broken out in Connecticut.

Hospitalizations also continued to pick up in another sign of increasing community spread. The number of hospitalized patients has more than doubled from the 340 reported on Nov. 1.

There were 816 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a net increase of 39 patients from Monday between new admissions and discharges.

Hospitalizations were last that high on May 21, the day after Gov. Ned Lamont started to lift a partial coronavirus shutdown of the state economy.

State health officials reported an additional 13 coronavirus-associated deaths from Monday to bring the death toll to 4,784.

THE NAUGATUCK VALLEY HEALTH DISTRICT reported Wednesday there have been 707 cases in Naugatuck and 100 in Beacon Falls since March. The number of cases in Naugatuck increased by 11 from Tuesday, while Beacon Falls had two additional cases.

There have been 41 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck and none in Beacon Falls as Tuesday, numbers that have remained flat for several weeks, according to health officials.

The Chesprocott Health District reported there have been 208 cases in Prospect as of Friday since the outbreak started in Connecticut. There have been no reported deaths from the coronavirus in Prospect, according to health officials.

Prospect has seen a dramatic increase in cases over the past couple of weeks. There were 69 new cases in Prospect between Nov. 2 and Nov. 13, according to the health district.

THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION ON Wednesday announced another Connecticut inmate had died of complications from COVID-19. It was the first coronavirus-linked death of a prisoner since May 26

The 45-year-old male prisoner had been transferred from the Osborn Correctional Institution to an outside hospital for treatment on Oct. 15. He started serving a three-year sentence in October 2018 for convictions for third-degree burglary and second-degree strangulation. He was not eligible for parole until May 2021.

“This is a sobering reminder that we cannot let our guard down when it comes to the coronavirus. We will continue to take the necessary precautions to limit its spread within our facilities,” said Angel Quiros, the acting DOC commissioner.

The DOC reported a third round of mass testing of the prison population for COVID-19 recently ended with a positivity rate of less than 1%. The department said only 20 of the 9,300 individuals incarcerated in state prisons currently have symptoms associated with coronavirus. All are recovering in the Medical Isolation Unit located within the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution.

THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE ANNOUNCED that a member of Lamont’s state police security detail received a positive test for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Paul Mounds Jr., the governor’s chief of staff, said in a statement that the team members immediately entered self-isolation at home.

The announcement came a day after the commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services reported that she tested positive for the virus. Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said in a statement that her symptoms are mild and she is quarantining at home.

Lamont, Mounds, and Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer, have been in quarantine since last Friday after Max Reiss, the governor’s communications director, received a positive test result. Reiss was also quarantine Wednesday.

Mounds said there are no other positive test results to report from the governor’s office other than Reiss and the security detail member. Lamont and senior staff are due to be tested again Thursday.

Lamont joined a coalition of seven northeastern governors jointly requesting residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus.

In addition to Connecticut, the other states are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennslyvania and Delaware.

Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel, or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.