CT does not meet WHO guidelines for reopening, study says

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Connecticut is one of 29 states that do not meet guidelines for reopening as advised by the World Health Organization, according to an analysis from Johns Hopkins University.

For governments to safely reopen, the percentage of total COVID-19 tests that return positive should be at or below 5 percent for 14 consecutive days, according to the WHO.

The analysis from Johns Hopkins University puts the percentage of total coronavirus tests that are positive in Connecticut at 7.04 percent as of Friday morning, close to but not at or below the WHO’s guidelines.

“Gov. Lamont laid out strict criteria for reopening our state’s economy in a deliberate and phased way and those have been achieved over the course of the past month,” said administration spokesman Max Reiss. “As a matter of fact, Connecticut was among the last states in the country to ease restrictions, while simultaneously doubling capacity.”

The WHO was just one organization that laid out suggested benchmarks to reopen economies. The White House recommended only a “downward trajectory” of COVID- and influenza-like illness.

The Centers for Disease Control was more specific in its recommended guidelines. To begin relaxing restrictions on businesses the CDC said the percentage of positive tests should be less than 20 percent for 14 days.

Connecticut is one of 29 states that do not meet the WHO’s criteria, according to the Johns Hopkins data. At the top of the list is Maryland, where 18.26 percent of total coronavirus tests came back as positive as of Friday.

Of those 29 states, Connecticut is ninth with a lower percentage of positive tests in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

The percentage of total tests was not part of the governor’s criteria for reopening, as he said at the end of April. The state’s ReOpen Advisory Group laid out guidelines including a 14-day decline of hospitalizations and 42,000 coronavirus tests per week, among other benchmarks.

“A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening,” according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Reiss said the administration has been “prudent,” and that the state “will be closely monitoring all metrics to ensure we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the interest of public health, while also weighing the economic effects of this pandemic.”