Governor Ned Lamont and Department of Public Health (DPH) Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford are expressing concern with recent COVID-19 outbreak clusters among teens and young adults in Connecticut. Statistics from Connecticut and elsewhere show that 18 to 29-year-olds represent substantial numbers of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.
Connecticut DPH has also received anecdotal, unconfirmed information regarding youth sports team travel to states on Connecticut’s travel advisory list. Under an order from the governor, all adults and children who participate in nonessential, out-of-state travel are required to complete a traveler information form upon their return to Connecticut and self-quarantine for 14 days. Teams who choose to travel to states on the travel advisory list need to cancel practices and competition for the 14 days after their return to Connecticut in order to comply with the order. Failure to comply may result in a $1,000 penalty.
“Connecticut has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country right now, but if we are not careful, this can change rapidly,” Governor Lamont said. “We do not want to end up with uncontrolled outbreaks like those being seen across much of the south and western portions of the United States. Our COVID-related hospitalizations have declined to just a few dozen, far from the peak back in late April when nearly 2,000 of our residents were being treated in hospitals. This is not a time to relax our basic practices to slow down the spread of the virus. This is a time for remaining vigilant.”
Commissioner Gifford said, “We understand the importance of socializing and seeing friends after so many months of social distancing. We also know that teens and young adults want to do their part to protect their communities, especially the elderly and those at high risk of serious illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. There are ways to safely socialize. It’s always safest to gather outside, and keep six feet away from others. Always keep your mask with you. Keep your groups small. Connecticut’s re-opening guidance limits indoor gatherings to no more than 25. Always wear a face covering indoors if you are with those who aren’t part of your household. With these simple but effective steps, we can keep Connecticut safe and still enjoy time with friends and family.
“Remember that as many as 40 percent of COVID cases can be asymptomatic,” the commissioner said. “That means if you go to a party with a crowd and without a mask, even if you are feeling well you can spread COVID to others who may become very ill. They can spread COVID to older or more vulnerable family and friends. To keep all of Connecticut safe, everyone needs to do their part and stick with the rules. It is also important for people to work with their local health department on contact tracing related to COVID-19, which is an important activity in making sure people who were exposed are aware and can quarantine to prevent spread to others.”
“This is a virus that can spread rapidly,” Governor Lamont said. “A small cluster of cases can turn into hundreds of new infections within days. If you multiply that, we are looking at major impact to our ability to continue to reopen our economy or even send children back to school in September for in-person instruction. We need your help, and we are counting on you. So please, we ask you again – wear your mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing wherever possible. This has been a difficult time for all of us. But together we can get through it and become stronger.”