Indoor masking urged in New Haven County as COVID numbers rise

Photo of Alex Putterman
As of last week, the CDC classified New Haven County as having “high” levels of COVID-19, prompting new precautions such as suggesting wearing masks in public.

As of last week, the CDC classified New Haven County as having “high” levels of COVID-19, prompting new precautions such as suggesting wearing masks in public.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

People in New Haven County are advised to wear masks in public to guard against the spread of COVID-19, Connecticut’s public health commissioner, Dr. Manisha Juthani, said Tuesday.

“At the New Haven County level — this would be for anybody in an indoor setting — we are recommending masking indoors, in any indoor setting,” Juthani said. “That is the public-health guidance.”

Juthani’s recommendation is based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “community levels” map, which evaluates county-by-county COVID-19 risk based on cases, hospitalizations and other factors.

As of last week, the CDC classified New Haven as having “high” levels of COVID-19, while Litchfield, Fairfield, Middlesex and New London Counties had “medium” levels and Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties had “low” levels.

According to the CDC, people in places with high levels of transmission are encouraged to mask indoors and on public transportation and to get tested if they exhibit any potential COVID-19 symptoms.

Based on the CDC’s alternate “community transmission” map, all but Tolland County have “high” levels of transmission.

Though masking is not currently required in any Connecticut town or county, Juthani said Tuesday that face coverings in places with high transmission (colored orange on the CDC map) can help ease the burden on health-care workers.

“Think about your fellow citizen, think about those health care workers that you know in your life,” she said. “With that in mind, the recommendation for anyone who is in an ‘orange’ county indoors is to mask.”

Connecticut as a whole currently faces an uptick in COVID-19 cases fueled by the BA.5 subvariant. As of Monday, the state had reported nearly 5,000 cases over the past week — not counting the likely thousands more recorded on at-home tests — with a positivity rate of 11.3 percent.

alex.putterman@hearstmediact.com