Residents of neighboring Rhode Island no longer have to comply with a two-week quarantine rule when they enter Connecticut. The state was removed on Tuesday from the list of states affected by a travel advisory that's supposed to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Rhode Island, Alaska, New Mexico and Ohio were all removed from the list of states with relatively high rates of COVID-19 infections on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added, for a total of 32 states and two territories. The travel advisory also applies to those entering New York and New Jersey.
States that appear on the travel advisory list have either a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. In Connecticut, travelers from those states must also fill out a health form to provide state officials with information on where they are staying in case contract tracing becomes necessary.
The advisory applies to Connecticut residents returning home from the affected states. On Monday, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced the Connecticut Department of Public Health had issued its first $1,000 fines against two individuals from Connecticut who had flown back from Florida and Louisiana and failed to fill out the health form. One was fined twice because the person also didn't quarantine.
Also Tuesday, there were no new COVID-associated deaths reported. To date, 4,444 people have died from COVID-19 in Connecticut. State data show there were 117 new cases since Monday out of 8,338 new tests. The number of hospitalizations increased by six patients, to 70 individuals in total.
In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:
NURSING HOME VISITATIONS
The acting public health commissioner was asked Tuesday to consider significantly expand visitation rules at nursing homes and chronic disease hospitals.
In a letter sent to Dr. Deirdre Gifford, a coalition of 12 advocacy groups said guidance from the Department of Public Health issued on June 22 that allowed only outdoor visits “unduly excludes people with disabilities” and those with mobility issues. Also, they said the order has been implemented “restrictively,” allowing only 20-minute maximum visits.
Indoor visits to nursing homes continue to be banned under an executive order from the governor that's been in place since March.
“Life in a nursing home is isolating. When residents are further isolated by losing contact with those they love and depend on for their social and emotional needs, the results can be fatal,” the organizations warned.
A message was left seeking comment with the Department of Public Health.
The advocates have recommended a series of recommendations, including allowing indoor visits for “support persons” at every nursing homes so long as there have been no new COVID-19 positive tests in the last 14 days and transmission of COVID-19 is low in the local community. They also suggested requiring visitors to comply with a facility's safety precautions, including wearing PPE, providing contact information for possible contact tracing, and adhering to social distancing, temperature checks and health screenings.
They also agreed that nursing homes could impose “a reasonable COVID-19 testing requirement on visitors” wanting to see loved ones.