"Baby Steps" and Backup Plans

CT On Track for May 20th "Reopening"

Dave Mager
May 07, 2020 - 10:53 pm
Reopen CT Advisory Group graphic on progress towards reopening criteria, 5/7/20

Governor's Office/ Microsoft Teams

The co-chairs of the governor's Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group say they're taking "baby steps" to build public confidence in the safety of patronizing businesses after two months of coronavirus-related closures. 

They're confident that some criteria for "reopening" are in place, but they say significant progress must be made on others.

Notes from Gov. Lamont's Thursday news briefing:

EATING OUT: "IT'S A NEW WAY OF LIFE"

Reopen Co-chair Indra Nooyi is trying to get the word out now: eating out has changed. 

"It's going to take a while for people to get comfortable," she says. "You'll see the facemasks, to see how these tables are set, the fact that there's going to be disposable menus. The waiters are going to have gloves... It's a new way of life."

Restaurants can serve customers on site, with outdoor seating only, starting May 20th.

Chief of Staff Paul Mounds says the governor will be issuing an executive order with guidance for restaurants on outdoor seating. Mounds says the order has been worked out with towns and cities in relation to their individual zoning ordinances.

CRITERIA FOR REOPENING

Gov. Lamont says his Reopen Group is considering seven criteria for "Phase 1:"

The governor's "Criteria for Phase 1 Reopening," made public 5/7/20.
Governor's Office

At this point, the governor's office is most confident in the continued decline in hospitalizations (now under 1,400 after peaking at more than 1,900) and remaining hospital capacity. 

Officials say they need to make more progress in ramping up testing:

Summary of Criteria for Initial Reopening, as of 5/7/20
Governor's Office

Their goal is 42,000 tests per week by May 20th, which would be significantly more than the number of tests being run now. About 4,700 tests were conducted in the 24 hours leading up to the report issued May 7th.

BACKUP PLANS FOR BACKUP PLANS

Nooyi expanded on what the governor's higher education subcommittee announced on Wednesday: that colleges and universities should plan to reopen campus life, but they should also be ready for drastically changing circumstances:

"If they're going to open the day after Labor Day, and two weeks before that there's an outbreak, they can actually reverse and go to online teaching. So, they're developing both plans side-by-side. That's the world we live in today."

NURSING HOMES

The state now reports 1,627 COVID-19 related deaths of nursing home residents.  That's 58% of the total deaths statewide.

Among the hardest hit, Riverside Health in East Hartford now accounts for 47 deaths. According to the official count, 40 residents of Kimberly Hall North in Windsor have died.

THE LATEST STATISTICS FROM CT DPH

--79 more deaths, for a total of 2,797. 

--hospitalizations: 1,385 (-60)

--31,784 known COVID-19 cases

--116,174 tests completed (roughly 3.4% of the state population)