By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — The once raging COVID-19 outbreak in the Naugatuck Valley has subsided significantly even among the few remaining hot spots there.
State officials are attributing the declining case rates in the Naugatuck Valley to a combination of the increasing vaccination rates there and the improving public health conditions statewide.
Gov. Ned Lamont reported May 20 that positive test rate dropped below 1% for the first time in eight months.
Also, more than 1.7 million of the state’s 3.6 million residents are now fully vaccinated, and more than 3.6 million vaccine doses have been administered, including 129,255 shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Only eight of the state’s 169 towns and cities remained on high COVID-19 alert for having at least 15 cases per 100,000 population on a rolling two-week week average, according to the latest weekly report May 20.
Not too long ago the number of municipalities that were not on red status in the state’s color-coded alert system could be counted in single digits.
THE SMALL TOWN OF PUTNAM tucked in the Quiet Corner of Northeastern Connecticut has surpassed the state’s fifth largest city of Waterbury for the state’s leading rate.
There were 21.3 cases per 100,000 population in Putnam on a two-week rolling average, compared to the fourth-ranking 17.9 cases per 100,000 population in Waterbury. The case rate in Waterbury had been a state-leading 69.3 cases per 100,000 just six weeks ago.
In addition to Waterbury, the only other towns in the Naugatuck Valley area remaining on red alert status this week were Thomaston and Morris. The rate was a third-ranking 18 cases per 100,000 in Thomaston, and the rate in Morris was 15.8 cases per 100,000.
The four other communities on high alert this week were Hartford, Meriden, New Britain and East Hartford.
Some 80 municipalities had fewer than 5 cases per 100,000 population. The other 81 ranged from 5 to 14 cases per 100,000.
THE STATEWIDE OUTLOOK continued to improve as public health officials reported a positive test rate of 0.9% based on additional results received through May 19.
There were 206 newly reported cases of COVID-19 out of 22,265 test results received. There now have been 346,154 reported cases, including 317,061 confirmed cases and 29,093 probable cases. To date, more than 9 million molecular and antigen tests have been performed.
There was also a net decline of four patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 between new admissions and discharges to 141 statewide, the lowest number of hospitalizations since early October.
Four more coronavirus-related deaths were reported May 20. There now have been 8,208 deaths attributed to COVID-19 or complications from the viral disease. The daily death toll recently has been largely hovering in the low single digits.
Officials reported there have been 3,513 COVID-19 cases in Naugatuck, 938 in Prospect and 567 in Beacon Falls since last March.
There have been 93 coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck, six in Beacon Falls and five in Prospect, according to state officials.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.