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In Connecticut, another 1,231 COVID-19 cases, 17 more deaths

Connecticut's COVID-19 tally grew by another 1,231 cases Monday, with 17 more deaths and 79 more hospitalizations associated with the coronavirus disease, according to Gov. Ned Lamont's office.

The numbers pushed statewide totals to 6,906 cases, 206 deaths and 1,221 hospitalizations.

Lamont, speaking during a virtual press conference, characterized as "good news" the fact that the number of hospitalizations has been going up "not exponentially, but on a linear basis" when plotted on a graph. The same has been true of the increase in deaths, he said.

The rates of increase suggest residents' adherence to social distancing directives is having some impact and that Connecticut's hospitals will be able to keep up with demand as the pandemic moves across the state, the governor said.

"Our health care system is bending but not breaking," he said.

As of 11:30 a.m., when the state's numbers were compiled, eight more COVID-19 cases had been reported in New London County, raising the county's total to 65. The number of deaths associated with the disease remained at four and the number of hospitalizations remained at 10.

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital reported it was treating five COVID-19 cases and Westerly Hospital six.

In the previous 24 hours, two additional cases in the county had been reported in Colchester and one each in Griswold, Groton, Lebanon, Ledyard, New London and Norwich. Groton City Mayor Keith Hedrick on Monday confirmed a third positive case in Groton City, a 79-year-old man.

Bayview Health Care Center in Waterford, which last week reported two COVID-19 cases, had six Monday, one of whom died Monday morning, staff members said in an online conference with residents' family members. The two initial cases have been hospitalized, but the three surviving new cases are being cared for on site, where they are being isolated in their rooms, said Kimberly Carlson, Bayview's administrator.

The person who died was already in hospice but had tested positive for COVID-19 as well, Carlson said. Five additional tests of Bayview residents done over the weekend came back negative, she said.

All six positive cases have been on the second floor of the two-story facility at 301 Rope Ferry Road, and the two floors have separate staffs, Carlson said.

In response to family members' questions, Carlson said some staff members have recently called out from work, but she did not say why. She said the facility still has enough staff to care for everyone.

Lamont said the infection rate in nursing homes "is high and continues to grow." His office reported that about a third of the 215 nursing homes in the state have had at least one case of COVID-19. Of the 477 nursing home residents identified with the disease, 142 have required hospitalization and 65 have died.

The governor said the state has several nursing homes with about 1,000 beds that can be converted to COVID-only facilities.

"That means we're going to have COVID-free nursing homes and that gives us a lot more confidence that we'll be able to contain the virus, and a Kirkland, Wash.-type situation is a little less likely to occur," he said.

In the country's first major coronavirus outbreak, 129 Life Care Center of Kirkland residents, staff and visitors were infected with the disease. Forty people died, including residents and visitors.

Lamont said the state also was working to safeguard the homeless population, setting aside some 1,500 beds in 14 hotels to quarantine those who have been infected.

The governor was joined by Rollin Cook, commissioner of the state Department of Correction, who said the department's response to the pandemic has included the early release of more than 700 low-risk offenders scheduled for parole, the issuance of protective masks to staff and offenders and intensive cleaning on all shifts.

Lamont said the state has an adequate supply of ventilators and the personal protective equipment worn by health care workers and hoped to make greater use of advanced processing of COVID-19 tests, including an Abbott Laboratories test that yields results in 15 minutes.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday a new testing site at Twin River Casino in Lincoln would make use of the rapid tests while performing 1,000 tests a day.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com





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