Gov. Ned Lamont visited New London on Monday as the area continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases. Health officials say they have increased testing there, but cases have yet to drop. The city’s positivity rate is hovering close to 3%.
Ledge Light Health District’s health director, Stephen Mansfield, said over 700 people got a coronavirus test over the weekend.
“We are confident we have a good handle on this,” said Mansfield. “The numbers haven’t gone down, yet we expect they will, and testing is such an important part of getting those numbers down.”
Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said contact tracing continues to show spread through small family gatherings and people not wearing masks.
“Carpooling -- seeing people taking off their masks when they are heading to work, we are seeing some spread happening there,” said Gifford. “The lunch room. Obviously, you have to take your mask off to eat, but if you are going to do that, it’s best to eat outside.”
According to the state’s website, the case rate in New London is 1,652 infections per 100,000 people. Gifford urged New London residents to self-isolate if they believe they’ve been exposed.
“We are going to break this cycle of transmitting the disease [only] if people who have been exposed can stay home,” Gifford added.
Lamont said Monday he will sign an executive order this week that will allow elected officials in towns with high positivity rates, like New London, to roll back to Phase 2 of reopening at their own discretion. Phase 3, which expanded capacity for indoor dining and events, began statewide last week.
“I think it’s always better to err on the side of caution, to tell you the truth, so we are going to give the mayors discretion,” said Lamont.
He said state officials will issue a report every Thursday to show which elected officials can take advantage of this executive order.