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Conn. Gov. Lamont Reveals Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Card

Avoiding the term "passport," Gov. Ned Lamont indicated Connecticut will roll out a digital health card for providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Lamont has said local communities should determine safety measures.

digital ID card
(TNS) — Gov. Ned Lamont said Friday the state will institute a voluntary COVID-19 vaccination verification system by the end of the year.

The Democratic governor ruled out a statewide masking mandate, something New York Gov. Kathy Hochul reinstated on Friday.

"I think what I want to do is get that digital health card [and] make it available to every single business, restaurant, store," Lamont said.

"Let them make the right decision in terms of allowing people into their facility. Letting them have the information [that] if a person’s unvaccinated, they’ve got to wear a mask."

He added: "I don’t think we need more mandates than that."

The governor stood by his decision to let local communities determine what COVID-19 precautions are appropriate in the face of rising rates.

"The towns are the ones that are taking the lead on enforcing it," he said Friday, following a press conference announcing the appointment of a new state comptroller. "Store and restaurant owners are the ones who know … how to enforce it, the best way to do it. I’m giving them all the tools they need once we get the digital card available."

Lamont said he was "a little surprised" by the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, from 200 to 550 just in the last few weeks.

"That said, we do have good capacity in our hospitals," he said. Unlike in other states, he has not mobilized the National Guard.

The digital health card will tie into the state’s vaccination database. He said he wanted to make sure it was "absolutely secure and authentic so we know people can’t play games. We wanted to do something in association with Rhode Island and Massachusetts and I understand New York is revisiting that as well so we can do it on a regional basis."

The digital card could be available before the end of the year, the governor said. "They had a false-start testing it in one of the neighboring states. They’re testing it again … first thing next week and assuming that test goes well, we’ll be in good shape within say 10 days."

The system would be rolled out on a regional basis, Lamont said.

"Do I wish we had had it five months ago? Sure," Lamont said. "But we’re going to have it."

Lamont has carefully avoided using the term "vaccine passport," which has become politicized by opponents of COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

"I call it a digital health card," he said. "Here’s the reason … passport everybody says 'oh my God, another mandate. You’re going to make me do this.' I’m trying to avoid that. I’m trying to say, 'here’s one more tool businesses can used to keep their customers and employees safe.'"

He acknowledged the distinction was "semantic."

©2021 Hartford Courant. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.