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Gov. Lamont: CT COVID-19 deaths top 4,000, hospitalizations continue to trend downward

The governor announced Wednesday that schools can hold in-person commencement ceremonies within guidelines.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Governor Ned Lamont will provide an update on Connecticut's response to COVID-19 Thursday at 4 p.m.

He announced the state has now seen more than 4,000 coronavirus related deaths.

148 new cases have been reported since Wednesday. However, the positivity rate in Connecticut remains low, at less than 3 percent.

Gov. Lamont said the positivity rate has remained under 5% for a week now.

Additionally, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to trend downward in Connecticut. 33 less people are being treated since Wednesday, the governor reported.

The State of Connecticut has received $1.4. billion in federal aid.

$125 million has been designated to nursing homes, $250 million will go to coronavirus testing and $100 million will go to PPE, just to name a few of the places where the money will go.

Officials also announced Thursday $75 million municipal coronavirus relief fund for towns and cities.

By pairing FEMA money and the relief fund, municipalities can be reimbursed for COVID-19 expenses.

Municipalities must use other federal funding first, then will have to submit for reimbursement through the municipal coronavirus relief fund.

The State has created a portal to show municipalities how online reimbursements are done. 

The State also announced $111 million was released to all Connecticut’s Boards of Education to support remote learning costs for students K-12.

FOX61's Amanda Raus asked the governor about his announcement this week that state schools will be able to hold graduations in July with 150 people.

Connecticut charities are looking to see when they’ll be able to hold fundraisers again, and brides and grooms are wondering when a decision will be made so they can figure out whether or not to hold a wedding.

Lamont said he believes graduations were different than weddings and social events. However, he didn't really have a concrete answer on guidance.

When asked if the State is planning to defer taxes due July 1, officials said no.

According to the Secretary, Connecticut is beginning to open up, and the state needs to resume its normal schedule. Taxes were already deferred from March through June.

New numbers released Wednesday showed 17 more people have died from COVID-19 complications and another 112 people tested positive. The total number of people who tested positive in the state to date has been 43,091.

COVID-19 related deaths are approaching sit at 3,989 in the state.

The good news was delivered in the form of decreasing hospitalizations for yet another day. Numbers showed that hospitalizations in the state have dropped by 28.

For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”

Also announced Wednesday was the go-ahead for schools to hold in-person commencements starting July 6th. The ability to hold commencements comes on the requirement to follow certain guidelines to keep people safe.

Those guidelines include a requirement that commencements be held outdoors, limited to a maximum of 150 people in attendance (including graduates), and proper social distancing protocols must be followed.

The present requirements related to drive-in ceremonies will continue to apply if schools decide not to hold in-person ceremonies. These requirements include compliance with all public health-related rules, orders, the instructions in standing Connecticut State Department of Education and Department of Public Health guidance, and that where:

1.     Cars are parked immediately next to each other, all car windows must stay closed

2.     Cars are parked at least six feet from each other, car windows may be open. All individuals in the car must wear masks.

The Connecticut State Department of Education also released guidance to every school superintendent in the state detailing rules for operating in-person summer school programs during the pandemic.

RELATED: Gov Lamont: Schools can hold graduations after July 6

RELATED: Connecticut state colleges and universities to open next fall

The rules state that in-person summer school programs can begin on July 6, 2020, provided that locations comply with certain requirements, and the health and safety plans are reviewed with the district’s local director of public health and school medical advisor, if applicable.

To read the summer school rules, click here. To read a guidance document on preparing for a safe return to classroom learning, click here.