Conn. urges masks indoors; young adults in Mass. lead cases
BOSTON (AP) — CONNECTICUT
The state Department of Public Health on Sunday issued an alert that strongly recommends all Connecticut residents over 2 years old wear face masks in indoor public spaces, whether they’re vaccinated or not, given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks because of the Delta variant.
The warning came as all but one of the state’s eight counties were classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as having “substantial transmission” of COVID-19. The state’s only county with moderate transmission, Litchfield County, has a high likelihood of meeting the substantial threshold soon, the state department said.
DPH on Sunday also urged both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents at high risk for complications of COVID-19, such as individuals with diabetes, compromised immune systems, pregnancy, obesity and asthma, to avoid large indoor gatherings that could include a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The agency stressed how vaccination “remains the most important defense against illness and hospitalization.” More than 59% of the population of Connecticut has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus with more than 64% having received at least one shot of a vaccine.
That’s according to statistics released Wednesday by the state.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts are skewing toward younger adults, according to data released by the state.
The age group with the largest number of newly confirmed cases during the past two weeks were those aged 20-29 who had more than 1,200 new cases of COVID-19.
The group with the next highest number of new confirmed cases were those aged 30-39, who reported just over 1,000 newly confirmed cases during the past two weeks.
The numbers fall off dramatically with those aged 40-49 reporting 594 new cases in the part two weeks and those aged 50-59 reporting 617 new cases.
The number of cases among older residents was significantly less.
Those aged 19 and under also showed far fewer new cases.
Democratic lawmakers in New Hampshire are praising the decision of the U.S. Department of Justice to file a brief Friday in a federal appeals court supporting their efforts to press Republican House Speaker Sherman Packard to require the House to provide them with remote access to sessions.
A group of seven Democratic lawmakers say their health conditions make them particularly vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.
They sued Packard arguing that holding in-person sessions without a remote option violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the state and federal constitutions, and forces them to either risk their lives or abandon their duties as elected officials.
A federal judge ruled against them, saying the House could proceed with in-person sessions. But the Boston-based 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in April sent the case back to the judge with instructions to hold further proceedings to determine if the plaintiffs are “persons with disabilities within the meaning” of the ADA or the federal Rehabilitation Act.
House Democratic Leader Rep. Renny Cushing, the lead plaintiff in the case, said the filing by the Justice Department “represents strong support of the position of the plaintiffs in this case, and firm rejection of the position of Speaker Packard that he is permitted, by virtue of his office, to ignore the duties and responsibilities of federal statute.”
Democratic Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and state health and education officials are recommending the use of masks in schools to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
McKee said in a statement Thursday that the state is urging schools align their policies with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending universal mask use within school settings.
“As Rhode Island has done previously, we will continue to follow the CDC’s most recent update to its guidance for schools. We strongly recommend that school districts set a policy that requires masking in schools this fall regardless of vaccination status in direct correlation with CDC guidance,” McKee said in joint statement with Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and Director of the Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott.
“We also know that vaccinations are the most powerful tool we have as we work towards a full return to in-person learning in the fall. With the start of the school year several weeks away, now is the time for eligible staff and students to get vaccinated,” they added.
As of Sunday, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in Maine stood at just over 70,400.
Of those, about 51,400 are confirmed cases and about 19,000 are listed as probable cases.
The number of deaths since the start of the pandemic stands at 900, while the cumulative number of hospitalizations comes in at more than 2,100.
The highest number of deaths by far have been among those aged 80 and over.
Nearly 80% of Vermont residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state health officials.
The most vaccinated populations are the oldest in the state with 99.9% of those aged 70 to 74 having received at least one shot and 95.5% of those aged 75 and over having received at least one shot.
There is a disparity by race, with 77.5% of white residents having reported receiving at least one shot compared to 67.5% of Black residents.
About 82% of females 12 or older have reported receiving at least one shot, compared to 77.2% of males.