By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont continues to work on reaching accommodations on COVID-19 travel rules with neighboring Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
This week, Massachusetts was added to the state’s coronavirus travel advisory because of the rising infection rate in the Bay State, while Rhode Island was removed because of declining infections in the Ocean State.
Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 in Connecticut, state residents are not subject to travel restrictions that Massachusetts and Rhode Island have imposed on out-of-state travelers.
State health officials on Wednesday reported 490 new COVID-19 cases, an additional 17 hospitalizations and nine more coronavirus-associated deaths.
Lamont told reporters that his administration continues to consult the administrations of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Riamondo on working out reciprocal agreements on interstate travel.
At this time, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have agreed amid rising infection rates in each state to exempt each other’s residents from a tri-state travel advisory that was put in place on June 24 because the three states are so interconnected.
Lamont said he is seeking to strike such arrangements with Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the same reasons. He said expects “very soon” to reach those accommodations, and he wants to include New York and New Jersey, as well.
“It is absolutely impossible to enforce travel restrictions between contiguous states,” Lamont said.
He said state enforcement efforts will continue to focus on air travelers because automobile travel is practically impossible to police.
Connecticut, New York and New Jersey updated the tri-state travel advisory on Tuesday to add California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. There are now 40 states on the COVID-19 watch list, plus the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.
The regional travel restrictions apply to states that either have more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% positive test rate on a rolling seven-day average
Visitors to Connecticut from states that meet either seven-day measure are supposed to quarantine for 14 days unless they tested negative for COVID-19 within three days of traveling, or they test negative within that two-week time frame. There is an exemption for stays of 24 hours or less, and essential workers are also exempted.
The state continues to require travelers from listed states and territories to fill out a form that reports where they will be staying and their contact information, how they will quarantine and their travel companions. This requirement applies to returning Connecticut residents.
In Connecticut, the daily rate of positive COVID-19 tests dropped from 4.1% on Monday to 3.4% on Tuesday based on testing numbers that were released Wednesday.
There were 490 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 14,305 tests reported since Tuesday. There now have been 69,127 cases since early March.
The state Department of Public Health reported a net increase between new admissions and discharges of 17 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 309 statewide. Hospitalizations had fallen below 300 on June 8.
The nine coronavirus-associated deaths that were reported Wednesday brought the death toll to 4,604.
Day-to-day changes in COVID-19 statistics reflect newly reported cases, deaths, and tests that date back several days to a week. The daily reports are preliminary, and data for previous dates is updated as new reports are received and errors are corrected.
The Naugatuck Valley Health District reported Wednesday there were seven new cases in Naugatuck and one more in Beacon Falls since Monday. There have been 522 cases in Naugatuck and 68 in Beacon Falls, according to the health district.
There were no new deaths reported. There have been 41 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck and none in Beacon Falls, according to health officials.
The Chesprocott Health District’s weekly update reported Oct. 23 showed there have been 119 coronavirus cases in Prospect — an additional 10 cases since Oct. 16. There have been no coronavirus-associated deaths in Prospect, according to the health district.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.