Hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose again on Friday while Connecticut’s positivity rate remained above 3 percent.
A net bump of seven more patients hospitalized for the virus brought the statewide census to 499. Hospitalizations are a key metric Gov. Ned Lamont has said he looks to when considering whether to reduce or tighten down on COVID-19 restrictions.
Friday also marked the first day amusement parks and indoor stadiums can reopen under the eased restrictions Lamont announced at the beginning of March. Indoor stadiums will be capped at 10 percent capacity, even as restaurants and bars that serve food have had their indoor capacity limits lifted since March 19.
But asked whether he would consider rolling back reopenings in the face of rising cases, Lamont appeared to suggest easing restrictions were not to blame for the flare up throughout the region.
“As I look at the greater northeast region... I see high positivity in some places that only have 50 percent capacity, I see high positivity in places that have mandates, in places where you still have to wear the mask, so I think there are some greater factors going on,” Lamont said Thursday during his pandemic news conference.
“Right now I think we’re on a good track and I think we’re gonna keep our hospital capacity,” he added.
Capacity limits on outdoor events venues have also been raised as of Friday, up to half the venue’s occupancy, with a maximum cap at 10,000 people.
Summer camps and summer festivals are also “advised to begin the planning stages to open for the upcoming season,” the governor’s office said back in early March.
That comes as Connecticut recorded a one-day positivity rate of 3.5 percent Friday. That number was down slightly from the 4.45 percent reported the day before, but the difference was mostly due to more testing.
On Friday, the state reported 1,542 new infections found out of 44,111 new tests. Infections were down by about two percent from the day before, while the number of tests recorded rose by 24 percent.
Four more fatalities were reported Friday, pushing the statewide death toll to 7,904.
On Thursday, Connecticut opened eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccines up to anyone over the age of 16. The governor said during his pandemic briefing Thursday that 100,000 appointments had been made on opening day, even as some reported frustration and the state’s phone scheduling system shutdown as appointments filled up quickly.
As of about noon on Friday, more than 1.3 million people in the state have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state now ranks third among states and fourth among all states and U.S. territories for percentage of residents who have received at least one shot, CDC data shows.