BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) – We are getting closer to back-to-school time, and Gov. Ned Lamont is urging parents to get their kids a COVID-19 booster before school starts.
Lamont and other leaders made a stop at a mobile vaccine clinic at the Burroughs Saden Public Library in Bridgeport on Monday to get the word out. Kids ages five and older are eligible for COVID boosters. They say it’s the best way to keep kids in school and learning.
With COVID cases on the rise, health officials also said they may be recommending masks again. The state’s positivity rate is above 10 percent and there are nearly 300 people in the hospital with COVID.
A majority of infants and children under 5 have not gotten vaccinated in our state. Top health officials are concerned as we enter the first year of school without a mask mandate.
“We are going into our first school season without a mask mandate in place, and we are able to do that because we have these tools at our disposal,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.
If counties go into the orange, the state will issue an alert that masks are recommended. Local Boards of Education will again have the power to make the call about masking in schools and closures.
“They are the kinds of choices that different schools are going to have to make in real-time based on conditions on the ground in their community,” Dr. Juthani said.
New COVID guidance for school districts will be coming from the state soon.
“I certainly urge parents to do the right thing for your kid, do the right thing for your class, do the right thing for your home. I mean, this is an opportunity to keep them safe and to keep your community safe,” Lamont said.
City health officials say there is still hesitation in the minority community. In the Park City, more Hispanics are vaccinated than Black residents.
“Don’t ignore the little ones because to get herd immunity, we have to also count on vaccinating the children,” said State Rep. Gerry Reyes.
About half of all kids in Connecticut ages 5 to 11 are vaccinated. State health officials say it’s best to get boosted now before school starts, rather than waiting for a new booster that could be out closer to the end of the year.
Health officials admit the positive test numbers are not accurate. That’s because people are not required to report at-home test results.
In the meantime, cities like Bridgeport are monitoring wastewater and can tell when a COVID spike is coming.