Coronavirus case rates by town

Connecticut’s daily coronavirus test rate has broken the 8% barrier for the first time since mid-May and is pressing dangerously close to 9%, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration reported Tuesday.

Of the 27,918 tests completed Monday by public and private labs, 2,414 or nearly 8.7% were positive, according to Max Reiss, the governor’s communications director.

Another 18 people died from COVID-19 on Monday, lifting total fatalities since the pandemic began in early March to 5,242.

Forty more people were hospitalized with the virus to start the week, Reiss added, raising the current total statewide to 1,223.

Hospitalizations peaked at nearly 2,000 in mid- to late April but also had been below 100 for nearly the entire three-month stretch from July through September.

The 8.7% daily positive test rate is the highest since May 18, when Lamont reported 697 of the 7,072 tests completed the previous day were positive— a rate of 9.9%.

The state enjoyed weekly average infection rates below 1% for much of the summer as the worst of the outbreak — recorded in April and the first half of May — steadily retreated in the second half of May and June.

Infection rates began to climb steadily starting in late August, with outbreaks and heavier caseloads in the Danbury area and later in southeastern Connecticut.

The state cleared the 7% mark just five days ago, when the administration reported a daily positive test rate of 7.1%.

Lamont warned in mid-November of a likely surge as people traveled for Thanksgiving and ventured out to stores on Black Friday.

Also Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced that effective Sunday, all municipalities in the Bay State will phase new restrictions on business and other gatherings.

Baker’s new order will limit performance venues and certain high-contact indoor recreational businesses. It also will reduce maximum outdoor gathering limits from 100 to 50 people.

Lamont has so far resisted calls to close restaurants in Connecticut.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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