By Paul Hughes, Republican-American
HARTFORD — Health care providers in Connecticut are being advised to report suspected cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome to the Department of Public Health.
State Epidemiologist Matthew L. Cartter issued the guidance Wednesday to infectious disease doctors, local health departments and pediatric vaccine providers statewide after five suspected cases of PIMS were reported through Tuesday.
Dozens of U.S. children have been hospitalized with a serious inflammatory condition that some doctors think is related to having coronavirus disease 2019, but the connection is still not clear.
Carrter reported the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with state health departments to develop national criteria for identifying and responding to the syndrome.
Meanwhile, his advisory stated suspected PIMS cases should be reported to state epidemiologists, and doctors should seek expert advice while waiting for results of clinical testing, including consulting infectious disease experts.
The Department of Public Health in early February added COVID-19 to the list of reportable diseases. Confirmed cases must be reported to the state agency and local health departments.
AN ADDITIONAL 522 POSTIVE TESTS reported Wednesday brought the statewide total to 34,855 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 8.
Gov. Ned Lamont also said the positive rate topped 10% after three days of results falling below this threshold that state officials are tracking daily. Despite the uptick, he said the positive rate has been trending downward.
In addition, the governor reported that he tested negative for coronavirus. He disclosed Tuesday that he had been tested for the first time. Through Wednesday, 134,943 tests had been done, but that count includes patients and specimens that have been tested more than once.
“I’m OK,” he said.
The sustained decrease in hospitalizations for COVID-19 continued. There was a net decline of 31 patients to 1,158 since Tuesday’s report. Reported hospitalizations topped 1,000 on April 4.
Public health officials reported 84 more confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. There have been 3,125 fatalities since the first death was announced on March 18.
Locally, the Naugatuck Valley Health District reported there have been 259 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in Naugatuck and 41 in Beacon Falls as of Wednesday. There have been 15 coronavirus-associated deaths of Naugatuck residents, the health district reported. The health district reported no confirmed or probable deaths from the coronavirus of Beacon Falls residents.
As of Wednesday, the Chesprocott Health District, which serves Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott, reported there have been 50 cases of coronavirus in Prospect and no deaths.
Lamont said the developments in the viral outbreak trends continue to support the planned reopening of some businesses to the public next Wednesday.
“Along as the metrics continue on the trend they are will be able to do that,” he said.
The first group of businesses and workplaces being allowed to open include barbershops and hair salons, retail stores, offices, and outdoor museums and restaurants. Restaurants are also being allowed to open for outdoor dining in addition to takeout and delivery.
LAMONT DEFENDED THE HIRING of a consultant to advise on state’s reopening strategy against Republican criticism.
The Democrat’s administration has agreed to pay up to $2 million to Boston Consulting Group under an agreement that was executed last Saturday.
Lamont said the state will use federal emergency funds to cover 75% of the contract cost because it is a coronavirus-related expense.
He said Boston Consulting is working with Connecticut and the bordering states of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island on reopening planning.
“So, they are the glue that helps us think about how as a region we are going to do this, and we can learn best practices from each and every one of our neighboring states,” Lamont said.
He noted the four states are also part of regional collaborations with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware on developing reactivation plans and procuring needed medical and personal protective equipment supplies.
Lamont said Boston Consulting will continue to advise his administration as the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group winds down. The privately-run, independent panel is counseling the governor’s office on reopening plans.
Senate Minority Leader Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, criticized Lamont Wednesday for hiring Boston Consulting without consulting legislative leaders or making a public announcement, including charges for its services.
“Details emerged yesterday only after the governor was questioned by the press,” he said.
Fasano said administration officials had told legislative leaders that Boston Consulting was helping out the state at no charge when asked about rumors that a consultant was being hired.
Lamont acknowledged there was no request for proposals for consulting services. Boston Consulting submitted a letter of proposal dated May 1 that referenced recent conversations with Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer.
“What I hear from small businesses across the state is I want to get going in a prudent and thoughtful way, and I think this was a prudent and thoughtful way to proceed,” he said
J.R. Romano, the state chairman of the Republican Party, said Lamont should fire Boston Consulting, and instead add elected local and state leaders to this reopening planning team to advise him.
Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.