A member of Gov. Ned Lamont’s security team tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday as the state recorded its first inmate death from the virus in months and saw hospitalizations rise past 800 for the first time since May.
Connecticut reported more 2,042 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing the state’s tally to 97,028 since March.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s office reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by 39 cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus patients in the state’s hospitals to 816. That is up from a low of 42 people hospitalized on Aug. 16 and more than at any time since May 20. It’s an increase of 476 patients this month alone.
Lamont’s office also recorded 13 additional coronavirus-related deaths, which brought Connecticut’s total to 4,784.
Connecticut’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate has risen over the past two weeks from 3.55% on Nov. 3 to 5.35% on Tuesday.
State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Connecticut the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
On Monday, the the governor predicted Connecticut would hit 100,000 total coronavirus cases by the end of the week.
In other coronavirus news:
HIGH PROFILE CASES
A member of Lamont’s security detail and the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have both tested positive for the virus.
Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said in a statement Tuesday night that her symptoms are mild and she is quarantining at home.
Lamont’s chief of staff, Paul Mounds, said the member of the security team received the positive test result on Wednesday and immediately went into isolation.
Lamont has been in quarantine at home since his communications director, Max Reiss, tested positive for the virus last week.
Mounds said that there have been not other positive tests among senior staff, who are expected to be tested again on Thursday.
A 45-year-old man who had been imprisoned at the Osborn Correctional Institution died on Wednesday from complications related to the coronavirus.
The state Department of Correction said the prisoner, whose name wasn’t released, had been hospitalized since Oct. 15.
The man was serving a three-year sentence for burglary and strangulation and would have been eligible for parole next May.
The death is the eighth linked to the coronavirus in the prison system, but the first since May 26.
“This is a sobering reminder that we cannot let our guard down when it comes to the coronavirus. We will continue to take the necessary precautions to limit its spread within our facilities,” said Commissioner Designate Angel Quiros. “My condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”
The University of Connecticut reported 56 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
That is the highest single-day total reported since the school began testing. It comes just two days before students head home for Thanksgiving and the school switches to remote learning for the remainder of the fall semester.
The school says 16 of those cases involved residential students and 40 were people who live off-campus, including two employees.
UConn says it will continue to provide housing for students who are in quarantine or isolation during the Thanksgiving break.
The news comes as Gov. Ned Lamont joined other regional governors in urging residential colleges and universities to provide testing for all students before they head home for Thanksgiving.
A second coronavirus testing center is opening at Bradley International Airport.
This one, run by Hartford HealthCare will be a drive-thru facility and will be open to the entire community, not just airline passengers.
The temporary center is being put up in an airport parking lot and will be open every day beginning Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers do not need an appointment, pre-registration or a doctor’s order and do not have to leave their vehicles.
The existing site, located near baggage claim, is open only to ticketed passengers.
The state’s Judicial Branch has launched a pilot program to help settle small claims cases during the pandemic.
Under the program, which begins Dec. 1, cases in in the Hartford, Fairfield and New Britain judicial districts will be eligible for online dispute resolution.
The court will refer eligible cases to the program if all parties agree to participate. Those involved will then work with a Judicial Branch mediator to try and resolve their cases remotely.
If no agreement is reached, the case would then proceed on the previously scheduled trial date.