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Hospitals in New Haven, Hartford restrict visitors

November 10, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hospitals in New Haven and Hartford have become the latest in Connecticut to ban routine visits as coronavirus cases rise.

Yale New Haven Hospital announced Tuesday that visits will be limited to maternity patients, child patients, those at the end of life and other rare circumstances. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford implemented similar visitor restrictions on Monday.

Hospitals in Norwalk, Danbury, New Milford and Sharon also recently limited visitor access due to virus spikes in the region.

New data released by the state showed nearly 550 people were hospitalized Tuesday, 52 more than the day before. And nine more people died, pushing total virus-related deaths to more than 4,700 since the pandemic began.

In other coronavirus-related news:

BUS DRIVER CLUSTER

The school bus company First Student is expected to submit a corrective plan to the state Department of Public Health on Tuesday after a group of bus drivers in New Haven contracted the coronavirus.

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New Haven officials said 27 positive tests were traced to an October birthday party attended by First Student drivers.

The company plans to set up a drive-thru site on Thursday to test its employees, said Michael Pinto, the chief operating officer for the city’s public schools, who blamed “poor judgment” of employees for the outbreak.

First Student said in a statement Tuesday it is implementing new cleanliness standards and regular randomized COVID-19 testing, in addition to protocols already in place. The company also said infected employees are being quarantined, and it is reinforcing with employees that they need to take precautions such as social distancing both at and outside the workplace.

New Haven has had no in-person learning this year, but First Student has transported parochial, private and charter school students.

DORMS QUARANTINED

The University of Connecticut is placing five dormitories that house more than 500 students under quarantine after 11 students who live there tested positive for the coronavirus.

Combined with another 23 students who live off campus testing positive, it was the highest daily total of new student infections since testing began in August, UConn officials said.

More than 250 residential students have tested positive for the virus since returning to campus in August.

School officials say 30 students who tested positive or have symptoms are currently in isolation on campus.

COURTHOUSE CLOSED

A federal judge ordered the U.S. courthouse in Hartford closed for cleaning Tuesday after a security officer tested positive for the coronavirus.

Judge Stefan Underhill, the chief federal judge for Connecticut, said U.S. marshals are conducting contact tracing to identify people who interacted with the officer in the courthouse Monday. Underhill said it was believed the officer did not have prolonged contact with the public.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people the officer had contact with. People identified during the contact tracing will be asked to quarantine.

Plans call for reopening the courthouse on Thursday. Courthouses are closed Wednesday because of the Veterans Day holiday.

COLLEGE CONTACT TRACING

Students at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities have begun testing a new app designed to make coronavirus contact tracing easier.

The governor’s office said Tuesday the pilot program, which began last Friday, is designed to flush out any issues before it is released to the general public, possibly later this week. There have not been technical issues yet, said spokesperson Lora Rae Anderson.

The app detects when two participating devices have been in close contact with each other for more than 15 minutes and can notify users if they have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for the new coronavirus. Officials said neither the state nor the developers have access to users’ identities.

The state said they chose college students to test the app because “they are traditionally great with technology, and are likely preparing to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.”