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Connecticut’s COVID cases remain below 10% for first time since 2021, New York cases drop 86%

A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared at the New York State drive-thru vaccination site at Plattsburgh International Airport.
Office of former N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Connecticut continues to see declines in COVID-19 hospitalizations and weekly positivity rate. This week’s test positivity rate dropped and has remained below 10% and hospitalizations are below 1,100 for the first time since late December. The state is down to averaging about 160 new coronavirus patients per week. Connecticut hospitals are at about 80% bed capacity with 16% of the beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

On Long Island, Suffolk County hospitals are at 79% bed capacity with 29% of beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

Increased at-home testing

Connecticut has distributed another 900,000 COVID-19 self-tests to schools and other organizations across the state. About 4.5 million were delivered in January after procurement problems before the New Year.

The first case of the more infectious COVID-19 subvariant, called BA.2, has been identified in Fairfield County, according to Yale New Haven Health researchers.

More changes to government

The Connecticut General Assembly will hold public hearings and most meetings online to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the first month of the 2022 legislative session. This year's session begins February 9.

Senate President Martin Looney and House Speaker Matt Ritter, both Democrats, announced the plan Friday and said the remote-only policies will be reviewed again at the end of February.

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly criticized the plan, calling it "more governing in the dark."

Last week, New Haven began mandating city employees to be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including the booster shot, or submit to weekly testing.

Mask mandate still in effect

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has extended the state’s indoor mask mandate for two more weeks unless the business or venue requires customers to show proof of vaccination to enter. The mandate was supposed to expire Tuesday, but now will be in effect until February 10.

The state’s highest court will keep its stay on Hochul’s order in place until March 2 if she chooses to extend it. It will temporarily block a decision last week by a lower court to overrule the mandate, calling it unconstitutional.

Charges for Long Island nurses

Two nurses on Long Island have been accused of forging fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and pocketing more than $1.5 million from the scheme.

Julie DeVuono, owner of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville, and her employee, Marissa Urraro, are charged with felony forgery. Urraro's lawyer is urging people not to rush to judgment and said he looks forward to showing “defects” in the investigation.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney alleges the nurses charged $220 for fake adult vaccination cards.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.