State’s positive test rate rises above 2%

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — The percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 jumped to 2.4% based on the test results reported Tuesday, the highest single-day uptick since June.

The positive test rate largely stayed between 0.5% and 1% on a daily basis for much of the summer, and then started ticking up in September, ranging north of 1%, but not quite reaching 2%.

A concerned Gov. Ned Lamont summed up the 2.4% rate during a news briefing Tuesday.

“It is not unexpected, but it is incredibly unnerving, and a little exhausting,” Lamont said.

There were 360 positive cases out of 13,398 test results that had been reported since Monday. The daily counts include tests that occurred over the past several days to a week.

To date, nearly 61,700 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Connecticut. There have been slightly more than 4,530 coronavirus-associated deaths. Hospitalizations are approaching 12,000, including 172 patients on Tuesday.

Despite the fluctuations in the daily rate, Lamont observed the positive test rate on a seven-day rolling average is 1.5%. He said this remains one of the lowest rates in the United States.

“I want to keep a little bit of perspective there,” Lamont said.

THE ONE-DAY SPIKE in the positive test rate came as infection and hospitalization rates have been rising in recent weeks along with concerns about a resurgence of COVID-19.

Localized outbreaks led state health officials to issue COVID-19 alerts for the cities of New London and Norwich in the last two weeks. The first such advisory was issued for the city of Danbury at the end of August.

Dr. Albert Ko, a Yale epidemiologist advising Lamont on coronavirus policy, said Connecticut is seeing a second surge now, but he also said the state is better prepared and he is not expecting to see as widespread an outbreak this time.

“This next wave for us is hopefully not going to be the wildfire that we went through in March and April, and I think the citizens of Connecticut are doing a good job in maintaining social distancing,” he said. “It is not perfect, and we’re having these super spreader events, but we are going to have more of the kind of the brush fires like we are seeing in Eastern Connecticut, or in Danbury.”

THE NAUGATUCK VALLEY HEALTH DISTRICT reported Tuesday there have been 476 cases in Naugatuck and 61 in Beacon Falls, increases of four and one, respectively, since Friday. There have been 37 confirmed coronavirus and four coronavirus-associated deaths in Naugatuck and none in Beacon Falls, according to health officials.

As of Friday, the Chesprocott Health District reported there had been 98 coronavirus cases in Prospect and no coronavirus-associated deaths in town.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.