NEW HAVEN, Conn. — New Haven County has become the first in Connecticut to reach "high" transmission level for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC updated its coronavirus map by county with the latest data from July 29 to August 4, which reflected the New Haven area in the red.
"High" community transmission of COVID-19 is the riskiest designation, meaning at least 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100k residents in the past seven days.
All other counties in the state remain at the 'substantial' level as of Thursday afternoon.
“It’s getting worse,” Waterbury resident Olius Eweld said. “I just try to tell everybody, take the vaccine and maybe the country will be better than before.”
The CDC classifies substantial transmission as 50 to 99.99 total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days. Moderate transmission is anywhere from 10 to 49.99 cases per 100,000 persons.
New Havens director of health called this shift backward "disappointing."
“It’s really disappointing to say the least. I honestly feel like we’re taking steps backwards instead of forward, especially when we know we have a vaccine that can provide protective factors,” New Haven Director of Public Heath Maritza Bond said.
Meanwhile, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said about 65% of the eligible population in his city has been vaccinated but there’s still more work to do.
“We’ve done this before and we know what works: mask-wearing, social distancing, and most importantly people getting vaccinated is what works," he said.
Earlier this week, every county in Connecticut became listed as an area of 'substantial' community spread for the virus.
The state has not issued any official mandates for masks since lifting most of them in may but "strongly recommends" residents follow the CDC's guidelines.
“Indoor facilities, we know that there’s poor ventilation, you should be wearing a mask. If you know that you’re going to visit a family member and it’s an elderly person or individual with an underlying condition, you should always wear a mask. When in doubt, wear a mask,” Bond said.
Gov. Ned Lamont said he wants state legislators to get involved to decide how to respond to the latest wave of COVID-19.
“I think the legislature's going to want to come in and I'd like to work with them in terms of what we do after Sept. 30 and get their point of view on masks, schools, vaccinations for state employees,” Lamont said. “I don't have to make all these decisions by myself. I'll take some help.”
The state is seeing a rise in positivity rate, cases, and hospitalizations that has been credited to the surge of the Delta variant.
“It was really difficult during the pandemic crisis when it first hit, especially in nursing homes, and now just seeing everything go back to what it was almost a year ago—it feels like we were about to get out of it and we just went right back,” Philip Mascolo from Walcott said.
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