HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Looking at the coronavirus in Connecticut, the state is seeing a steady increase of cases and hospitalizations.

Thursday’s statistics showed an increase in 220 positive cases out of 13,857 tests performed, showing a 1.6% positivity rate.

Coronavirus in CT: Hospitalizations at 75 as positivity rate continues to trend up

The rate is still good, compared to where it was early on and compared to other states, but this is still a steady rise, and it’s been going on for the past few weeks.

With 75 currently hospitalized as of Thursday, it’s the highest that number has been since early July.

Pointing to some of the flare ups seen in Danbury and at some of the colleges, state leaders say this is a cause for concern.

“This is something we’re watching carefully. To what degree it’s seasonal, to what degree it’s people coming back, to what degree it was Labor Day weekend, all those folks who thought we were out of the woods and it’s time to let it rip, it reminds you why we continue to be very cautious,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.

His message on Thursday is to “still be vigilant.” 

From an economic standpoint, there’s a big concern that we could be on a collision course to rolling back our reopen.

Phase 3 includes bars, and it also includes loosening the indoor capacity restrictions on restaurants.

This is going to be vital in order for restaurants to survive the fall and winter seasons.

However, looking at Thursday’s numbers, the state is still in a good spot, but the uptick in positive cases as well as hospitalizations has gone on for about two weeks now.

That’s not a good sign for businesses, and right now, there’s no clarity for them on what they can and can’t do in the fall.

Lamont said he’s going to meet with his team to plan out the next critical steps in navigating this virus and the seasonal change.

“I’m going to sit down with my public health team and they’re going to say that Oct. 12 is too far ahead to predict and I’m going to say, ‘look, if we can keep our metric below, say 2%, I want to be able to tell people this is what you can plan on in terms of capacity and occupancy.’ That’s where I think we’re going with this discussion,” Lamont said.

The summer business has exceeded expectations at Max Burger in West Hartford

"I’ve gone outside to eat maybe about once or twice a week since this started," Debbie Kritzman said Thursday.

At a time when indoor dining is limited by the state to half capacity, outdoor dining was a lifesaver. West Hartford even shut down lanes to help restaurants survive.

"The patio definitely generates a lot of our sales," Jamie Pinto of Max Burger said.

With weekend lows in the 30s, the clock is ticking and Governor Lamont today admits, he hasn’t given restaurants much guidance for navigating the fall and winter.

"I owe them a response, and I owe them a response soon," Lamont said.

"I know that everyone’s worried that once the weather gets cooler, there might be a higher risk of the virus spreading," Pinto said.

And that could impact the capacity allowed indoors come winter. Dedicated customers could be going the takeout route.

Also new on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control said a vaccine could be widely available for the general public late spring or early summer of 2021.

Lamont said Phase 3 doesn’t hinge on a vaccine, and that the phase would likely come sooner if the infection rate allows.

The governor will be meeting with the department of health and he’s hoping to have an answer about elements of phase 3 as soon as possible.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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