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Lamont to strengthen COVID-19 travel policy

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday he’ll be taking stricter steps by the end of the week to prevent air travelers from COVID-19 hot spots from spreading the disease in Connecticut.

Passengers on flights headed for Bradley International Airport from Arizona, Florida, Texas and more than a dozen other states where the disease has been spiking will be asked to fill out a form indicating where they’re going to be staying, how they’ll be quarantining and with whom they'll be traveling.

“You’ll be filling out that form and giving it to us when you land,” Lamont said. “If we find somebody’s tested positive on the flight or otherwise, it makes it easier for us to track and trace and make sure we keep an eye on things.”

He said he has no plans to track travelers entering the state by vehicle and, at least for now, doesn’t plan to impose fines on those who flout the travel policy.

On June 24, Lamont joined the governors of New York and New Jersey in adopting travel advisories pertaining to travelers from any state with a daily COVID-19 positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with an average rate of 10% or higher over a seven-day period. Such travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days unless they’ve had a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hours before they traveled.

As of July 7, the quarantine list includes 19 states.

Connecticut’s latest COVID-19 data, released Monday, show 223 new cases of the disease had been reported since Friday, raising the cumulative total to 47,510, and that 23 more fatalities had been associated with the disease, increasing the statewide toll to 4,371.

Lamont said six of the new deaths had occurred since Friday while the other 17 had occurred over the last few weeks but were just being reported for the first time.

In New London County, six new confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported since Friday. No new fatalities had been reported.

Since Friday, 31,101 new COVID-19 test results had been received. Given the 223 new positive results, the state’s infection rate — a key indicator of disease’s prevalence — remained below 1%, one of the lowest rates in the country, Lamont noted.

“So far, so good,” he said.

Lamont was joined at his daily coronavirus briefing by Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, who discussed plans to reopen schools in the fall. She said the state’s superintendents are preparing to bring all students back to school provided the coronavirus remains in check in Connecticut but also are preparing “hybrid” models in which some students would attend school while others remained at home and engaged in distance learning.

A third option, in the event the disease surges, would be online learning for all students, Rabinowitz said.

Lamont said his administration likely would decide in early August whether to allow all students to return to school in September. He said he expects to announce a timetable for phase three of his business reopening plan at around the same time.

In phase three, originally scheduled to launch next week, bars will be allowed to open and restaurants will be allowed to operate at full capacity.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

 

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