Lamont Firmly Against Mask Mandate; CT Hospitalizations Rise


CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont said — again — that he has no intention of reinstituting a statewide mask mandate in Connecticut.

During a Monday morning news conference, the governor emphasized, “We have the ability to keep ourselves safe.”

Lamont said the mask mandate “made a lot of sense” earlier in the pandemic when, “if somebody infected walked into a store, they would infect everybody else, or could infect everybody else.”

An order from the state Department of Public Health currently requires everyone inside certain settings, such as health care facilities, facilities housing vulnerable populations, public and private transit, correctional facilities, schools, and child care, to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

In August, Lamont resisted calls to reinstate a statewide masking mandate issued early in the pandemic and rescinded a few months later, instead issuing an executive order empowering local governments to require masks. It proved a popular move for most, if not all Connecticut cities.

“All of our densest communities have put in place a mask mandate,” Lamont said Monday. “And it’s those communities who are responsible for enforcing something like this.”

A recurring snag during the statewide mandate was the lack of manpower — or interest — in smaller towns to police the order.

But “this is a very different situation than what we were in a year and a half ago,” Lamont said, “and I think that’s reflected in our policies.”

COVID-19 infections in the state have dropped slightly over the weekend, from Friday’s 26 percent to 23.68 percent, reported by DPH on Monday.

The daily coronavirus positivity rate is a function of the number of tests compared to the number of cases confirmed positive each day. Over the weekend, 31,405 positive cases were logged, out of 132,606 tests taken. The numbers of tests and cases confirmed, do not include those taken with at-home self-test kits.

Although the daily positivity rate has taken a dip, hospitalizations continue to climb. DPH logged 79 additional hospitalizations over the weekend, bringing the total number of residents hospitalized with the virus to 1,889 as reported Monday. In this reporting, DPH does not distinguish among patients who were admitted to a hospital because of COVID-19 symptoms, and those asymptomatic residents admitted for non-COVID reasons who test positive while in the hospital.

In neighboring New York, 43 percent of the 11,548 hospitalized patients did not have COVID-19 listed as one of the reasons for admission in data reported Friday.

Of the 1,889 COVID-19 patients in Connecticut, 1,287 (68.1 percent) are not fully vaccinated.

For the week beginning Dec. 26, the risk of unvaccinated persons testing positive for COVID-19 as compared to fully vaccinated persons is 3.3 times greater, according to DPH, and their risk of death is 17.2 times greater.

The highest number of the hospitalized —648 — are in New Haven County.