Number of towns, cities under high alert drop

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — The number of towns and cities on high COVID-19 alert has dropped in the last week to 55, the lowest number since mid-November.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday said the decline is another sign that the state’s outbreak is slowing and COVID-19 vaccines are working.

Last week, state health officials reported 97 out of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns were on red status in the state’s color-code alert system for having at least 15 cases per 100,000 population on a rolling two-week week average.

“A lot less red. Half as many ‘red’ towns as we had a week ago I think,” Lamont said. “So, I think you can see enormous progress there.”

He said the Naugatuck Valley remains a COVID-19 hot spot because towns and cities there have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

Naugatuck and Prospect remained in the red with about 21 cases per 100,000.

The city of Waterbury continued to lead the state with 34.4 cases per 100,000, but the case count continued to trend down from a high of 69.9 cases per 100,000 four weeks ago.

More than 1.4 million people are now fully vaccinated in Connecticut, meaning a person has received either one shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or a second dose of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Through Thursday, more than 3.2 million vaccine doses have been administered.

President Joe Biden Biden on Tuesday set a new national goal: by July Fourth, the president wants 70% of adults to have received at least one dose. In Connecticut, 69% of residents age 18 and older have already received a single dose.

“I wish I could tell you that we are at 70% today in Connecticut of adults with their first dose, but I think tomorrow we’ll get there,” Lamont said. “We just have a few hundred more of you to go, so we’ll be able to say, ‘Mr. President, appreciate your July Fourth goal. We’re already there and we are going to keep going.’”

State health officials reported 711 new cases of COVID-19 out of 36,968 test results that were received Wednesday for a daily positive test rate of 1.9%. There now have been 342,282 cases reported since March 2020.

There was a net increase of nine patients hospitalized with confirmed cases COVID-19 to 324 statewide. Another seven coronavirus-related deaths raised the death toll to 8,131.

State health officials reported there have been 3,470 COVID-19 cases in Naugatuck, 926 in Prospect and 559 in Beacon Falls since last March.

There have been 92 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck, six in Beacon Falls and five in Prospect, according to state officials.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.