CT COVID hospitalizations continue decline

Photo of Peter Yankowski

COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to fall on Friday, days before the state is set to expand vaccine eligibility and as federal regulators could approve a third vaccine for use in the United States.

There were 34 fewer patients hospitalized on Friday, dropping the statewide total to 451.

The daily positivity rate sat at 2.22 percent after 787 new cases were found out of 35,512 tests.

Eight more fatalities attributed to the virus were reported, bringing the state’s official death toll to 7,622.

That comes as the state is poised to allow adults over the age of 55 to register for the vaccine starting Monday. Teachers, school staff and child care professionals will also be eligible, but state officials have asked those workers to wait to be vaccinated at clinics organized through schools and local health departments.

That comes as a key panel voted unanimously to recommend an emergency use authorization for the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the Associated Press reported. The agency could approve the company’s vaccine as early as Saturday, giving the country a third vaccine in the fight against the virus

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine could help aid distribution of the vaccine, because the doses can be kept at refrigerator temperatures — much warmer than the two vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday the state is expected to receive some 30,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week if the company’s application is approved.