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Gov. Lamont has key COVID decisions to make upon return from vacation

To incentivize or to mandate? That is the question Gov. Lamont is facing as CT’s COVID cases continue to rise.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Some key decisions are on the horizon for state leaders, as CT sees a concerning upswing in COVID cases, mainly among the unvaccinated.

To incentivize or to mandate? That is the question Gov. Lamont is facing as CT’s COVID cases continue to rise. And as the clock ticks closer to his emergency powers expiring on September 30th. David Pickus of West Hartford said, "620,000 Americans have been killed. 4-million people in the world. It’s crazy, we can stop this."

Six of Connecticut’s eight counties are now seeing substantial COVID spread again, driven by a surge in the Delta variant. Dr. Deidre Gifford, the Interim Commissioner at CT Department of Public Health said, "The Delta variant now makes up 80% of the COVID cases that we are sequencing."

So, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is now reinforcing the CDC by issuing new indoor mask guidance for Hartford, New London, New Haven, Fairfield, Tolland, and Windham counties. "I do whatever is recommended to keep myself and my family safe and healthy," said Kevin Doyle of Hartford. "We’ve got to stop this virus and you do it in variety of ways. If you care about other people, you wear masks and you get vaccinated," added David Pickus.

But many people aren’t getting vaccinated, prompting President Biden to recommend cash incentives. "I’m calling on all states and local government to use funding they have received including from the American Rescue Plan to give $100 to anyone who gets fully vaccinated," said the President. Doyle responded, "If it’s $100, I’ll chip in $50."

Doyle, who's already vaccinated, told FOX61 people who’ve already done the right thing shouldn’t be holding their hands out. "Good, you got it when you did. Now shut up and pay him money."

Gov. Lamont is spending some time with his family in Maine. He has been using social media to reinforce the public health message. But he will have to some looming decisions when he returns to the state Sunday. Will he mandate vaccines for state workers? "Something I have to think about and look at," he said.

Will he issue school mask guidance or bring back travel restrictions? Gov. Lamont said on Wednesday, "It’s tougher now. It’s tougher. Just two weeks ago the Capitol was being circled by protestors saying the emergency is over, get off my back."

The Governor also threw shade at the FDA for not stamping the vaccines with a seal of full approval. "It’s really time for the FDA to step up and make up their mind on these vaccines. We’ve gone from operation warp speed to operation also roll and they still can’t decide whether to give the full authorization."

President Biden says the FDA will make decision on whether to fully approve the COVID vaccines in early fall. He’s also asking every employer to give employees paid leave to get the shot, saying employers will be reimbursed so it doesn’t cost them a dime.

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