Health Official: Model Suggests Connecticut At COVID-19 Peak

AP
April 28, 2020 - 1:26 pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC and AP) — A model created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hartford HealthCare suggests Connecticut has reached the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford HealthCare’s chief clinical officer, said Tuesday he believes the state is in the plateau period of that peak, with the number of hospitalizations holding steady.

“Going forward, we're going to see a trending down, at least for hospitalization,” he said.

The number of people reported to be infected with the new coronavirus will continue to rise in Connecticut because testing is being ramped up, Kumar said.

Because of the early limits in testing, there could be as many as five to 10 people infected for every positive test reported, he said.

Hartford HealthCare’s chief executive is among the governor’s advisers on responding to the pandemic.

As of Monday night, the state had reported just under 26,000 cases of the virus from 90,746 tests. There had been 2,012 coronavirus-related deaths, and 1,758 people remained hospitalized.

The model predicts that as many as 6,000 people could eventually die in Connecticut from coronavirus-related causes, though Kumar said he believes the death toll will be lower.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.

In other coronavirus-related developments around Connecticut:

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Connecticut’s Department of Labor has begun issuing the first round of $600 weekly federal stimulus payments to filers receiving state unemployment benefits. The initial batch, totaling more than $89 million, was issued last weekend after the state agency successfully programmed its computer system, Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday. That’s in addition to the nearly $51 million issued last weekend in state benefits.

Those who receive payments through direct deposit should expect to begin seeing federal money appear in their bank accounts by Tuesday. A website has been set up to monitor whether deposits were issued.

Connecticut and other states with old computer systems have been delayed in processing the federal payments because the state Department of Labor’s database needed to be modified, which officials said was a labor-intensive process while handling an unprecedented number of state unemployment claims.

Meanwhile, the agency is still working to implement two recently approved federal programs: benefits for the self-employed and a 13-week extension for eligible claimants who’ve exhausted 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

_____

INMATE LAWSUIT

Another federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of inmates who believe they have not been protected from the coronavirus.

This one names four inmates with underlying medical conditions at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury.

It seeks to have the inmates most at danger of contracting the virus released into home confinement and have the prison institute appropriate social-distancing guidelines for prisoners who remain in custody.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday for the federal Bureau of Prisons.