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Lamont Considers Phase 3 Opt-Out For Coronavirus Outbreak Towns

CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont is now considering giving towns with a high volume of coronavirus cases discretion to stay at the second reopening phase.

“I think we are thinking about this on a town-by-town basis and perhaps giving those towns some discretion not to move to phase three, to stay at phase two,” Lamont said at a news conference.

Connecticut’s third reopening phase started Thursday. It increases indoor restaurant and personal service capacity from 50 to 75 percent. It also increases capacity at private social commercial gatherings like weddings as well as religious services, graduation ceremonies, outdoor entertainment and indoor performing arts.

The discretion to stay or roll back to phase two would be given if a town reached 15 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week rolling average. The state average is closer to seven per 100,000.

The eastern part of the state and particularly New London County is beginning to see a rise in cases. Norwich and New London have more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week average. Windham and Preston have between 15 and 24 cases per 100,000 residents. Those figures don’t include nursing homes, assisted living or correctional facilities.

The nature of the pandemic has changed since March and April where large swaths of the state were experiencing outbreaks, Lamont said. Many coronavirus outbreaks are being fueled by small private social gatherings where people get lax with mask use and social distancing.

Danbury’s outbreak that dated back to late August has been cooling off. Danbury’s outbreak occurred in one section of the city and mainly stayed there, said Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford. Norwich and New London’s outbreaks aren’t as localized, she said.

The state’s rapid response testing team will help bring additional testing capacity to communities hit with coronavirus outbreaks. The team was active in Norwich last weekend and is partnering with the Ledge Light Health District in New London to bring additional testing to the area.

See also: CT Coronavirus Spread Different Now Than March: White House’s Dr. Deborah Birx

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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Govt Considers Tighter Lockdown Restrictions for England

These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.

New Lockdown Measures

New measures to tackle the rise in COVID-19 cases in England have been predicted, with at least one report today claiming the plan has already been approved by Number 10.

A three-tier system of local lockdowns has been touted as the most likely response as the Government tries to balance health measures and the fragile economy.

Under the system, different regions of England would be placed in different categories depending on infection rates from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The strategy was trailed yesterday by the Scottish Government which introduced more stringent rules, including curbs on pub and restaurant opening hours in the central belt, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, confirmed to the BBC earlier that the Government was “currently considering what steps to take”.

It was widely reported today that pubs and restaurants could be closed for a time in some of the worst affected areas in England.

The Times asserted that the strategy had already been signed off by the Prime Minister, and would be accompanied by extra financial support for affected businesses.

The timing of any extra measures remained unclear, although some commentators suggested they could be introduced next week.

Daily Data

In today’s daily data another 17,540 UK positive tests were reported and 77 deaths.

There are 3412 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 442 ventilator beds are in use.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for Public Health England, commented: “We are seeing a definite and sustained increase in cases and admissions to hospital. The trend is clear, and it is very concerning.”

Extra Funding to Back Coronavirus Enforcement Rules

Police forces and local councils in England have been told they will receive an extra £60 million to boost patrols enforcing coronavirus rules.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said: “This extra funding will strengthen the police’s role in enforcing the law and make sure that those who jeopardise public health face the consequences.”

The Government said that police would also be asked to provide more support to local authorities and NHS Test & Trace to enforce self-isolation regulations.

COVID-19 Mortality Exceeds Flu and Pneumonia

More than three times as many people have died from COVID-19 in England and Wales this year than from pneumonia and influenza, official figures showed.

Between the beginning of January and the end of August, there were 48,168 deaths due to COVID-19 compared with 13,619 deaths due to pneumonia and 394 deaths due to flu.

The Office for National Statistics said the trend was particularly evident between March and June.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 were 23.7% higher in males than females, figures showed.

The proportion of deaths occurring in care homes due to COVID-19 up until the end of August was 30.0%, compared with 15.2% for pneumonia and flu, statisticians reported.

Asymptomatic Patients

A study led by University College London found that more than three quarters of people who tested positive for COVID-19 during lockdown