HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — What do we know about “stealth omicron” so far? It is a version of the omicron variant that is more contagious but does not seem to cause more severe disease.

However, lawmakers are taking it seriously and debating whether to extend several COVID executive orders including sharing your vaccine status.

COVID cases continue to pop up, with the state’s seven-day positivity rate at more than 5%. It is affecting business here at the Capital.

Governor Ned Lamont is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID. He is taking the anti-viral treatment Paxlovid. Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz is also quarantined after testing positive.

The majority party feels there are several executive orders that need to be extended longer because we are still in a public health emergency. They are set to expire at the end of the week.

“We don’t believe that these are issues that are necessarily going to be a permanent need. But they are currently needed because of the emergency situation,” said State Sen. Martin Looney, the Democratic senate president.

Republicans say the voice of the people is missing from the debate.

“And now out of the blue. Here we go. Another executive order request to once again extend those powers,” said State Sen. Kevin Kelly, the Republican senate minority leader. “Why can’t the governor and his majority do right by the people of Connecticut and bring it through the normal process.”

The executive orders focus on the following areas: sheltering the homeless, keeping nursing aides on the job, extending how long the state Department of Housing has to send out checks in the CT Unite program to avoid eviction of tenants and allowing access to vaccine status.

”It would permit the Department of Public Health to disclose a person’s status, but to a person’s health care provider, school nurse, or local health director,” Looney added.

But what about privacy?

The order grants the DPH commissioner the authority to set rules for how and when this vaccination information will be released and for what purpose.

Chris Boyle, a spokesperson, told News 8: “HIPAA privacy rules apply to health care providers and health care plans. It does not apply to CT WiZ.”

That is the state vaccination database.

“I think the nurses in the schools need this type of information if somebody’s coming in, if they’re sick, they’re showing symptoms, they don’t know if they’ve been vaccinated, they can’t remember. That would be helpful information for a nurse in terms of public health,” Lamont said.

Health officials say the COVID variant BA.2 omicron is “stealth” because it looks like Delta on certain PCR tests.

Philadelphia is returning to indoor masking next week as a result of increasing infections.

The CDC is contemplating keeping the mask mandate on trains, planes and buses.

Lamont said he is not bringing masks back, saying “people can manage themselves.”

Senators voted along party lines to extend the executive orders for another month. Democrats voted yes. Republicans voted no. The House of Representatives takes up the legislation tomorrow.