By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer
HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont recently announced that more than one million COVID-19 tests have been recorded in Connecticut, a major accomplishment that has helped the state remain one of the few in the nation to keep the virus contained to low levels of transmission throughout the summer.
Lamont said that the state is committed to ensuring the safety of its residents in the face of the pandemic.
“This is a significant milestone, but we have to continue these efforts and keep going,” Lamont said. “We’re committed to moving forward with initiatives that keep testing available in the state to protect our residents, maintain the progress of our safe reopening and get children back to school.”
The state has implemented a variety of new and innovative efforts to ensure that testing is accessible for all residents with symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been exposed to the virus.
The state has also created new, targeted testing programs to provide routine testing for those at greater risk to exposure.
This testing strategy, developed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health with support from public health and scientific experts on the Re-open Connecticut Advisory Group, focused on developing testing capacity at in-state labs and with local health care providers.
It has been instrumental in maintaining rapid turnaround times even as other states have experienced significant spikes in cases.
During the month of August, the median time for a Connecticut test result to be delivered has been one day and 75 percent of tests have been returned in two days or less.
This is in stark comparison to reports from other states, where test results often take a week or more to return, rendering contract tracing and isolation strategies ineffective.
To support the state’s testing efforts, Lamont has allocated at least $250 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support testing.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said that the improvements of testing capacity has been helpful.
“Connecticut’s ability to significantly bolster its testing capacity thanks to the incredible work of our agencies, testing partners and state-contracted labs has proven to be a critical tool in addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Bysiewicz said.
Bysiewicz said that the turnaround has been great for the state regarding infection rates.
“Connecticut went from a state with one of the highest infection rates to one of the lowest because of our ability to test, treat, and track,” Bysiewicz said. “Now more than ever, we must remain vigilant and continue to encourage residents to get tested, wear their masks, and practice proper social distancing.”
State-contracted laboratories that have processed several tests quickly include Genesys Diagnostics, the Jackson Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics.
Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said that the state is working diligently to make sure everyone is safe in the state.
“Connecticut has relentlessly pursued creating as much testing capacity as possible, working with in-state labs to greatly expand testing and reduce the delays seen in other states for getting results,” Gifford said.