Yesterday, phase two of reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic began with Gov. Ned Lamont allowing hotels, indoor dining, nail salons, fitness facilities, amusement parks, museums, zoos and aquariums to open for business.
Lamont attributed the slightly accelerated pace of successive phases to the continued decline of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state despite increased socialization and travel since May 20.
“We hit our peak on April 22 and are down about 90 percent since then,” said Lamont at a Tuesday press conference. “The positivity rate has stayed at or below 2 percent despite our increased testing with 75 percent of the economy opened back up.”
Under phase two, up to 95 percent of the economy could be reopen, Lamont said.
In the Connecticut River Valley, with the exception of Old Saybrook where an Apple Rehab nursing home facility saw 69 cases in May alone, towns in the region have seen, on average, just 8 additional cases between May 20 and June 15.
Statewide, an additional 4,398 cases were diagnosed during phase one, less than 10 percent of the total cases diagnosed since the start of the pandemic.
Hospitalizations have also steadily declined with only 201 COVID-19 positive patients in hospital as of June 16, compared to 887 on May 20 and well over 2,000 at its peak, according to data provided by the state Department of Public Health.
Connecticut is one of just six states nationwide that is currently trending better since the reopening efforts began. Those other states include New York and New Jersey.
“One reason we can feel more confident about opening up even more now, especially restaurants and such, is because our neighbors are trending well too,” Lamont said. “I don’t think we opened too early and the trendline has continued down.”
The next phase of reopening is scheduled to begin on July 3, with relaxed rules on outdoor gatherings that will also allow for July 4 fireworks to take place as usual. By mid-July, Lamont anticipates allowing outdoor event venues to open, as well as indoor gatherings of 50 people or fewer, if there are no further increases in cases of COVID-19.