STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Ned Lamont credited the growing number of vaccinations in Connecticut with the state's declining rate of COVID-19 infection, noting Friday the number of nursing home residents and people 75 years and older who are getting infected is “way down.”

According to data through Feb. 11 from Johns Hopkins University, the rolling average number of daily new cases in the state has dropped by slightly more than 630, a decrease of 34%.

“It’s making a difference in the terms of we’ve got everybody in our nursing homes vaccinated and the number of complications coming out of our nursing homes is way down. Number of infections way down,” Lamont said Friday outside Stamford Hospital, where a vaccination clinic was happening. The Democrat also noted that COVID-related hospitalizations are also declining.

Data released Friday show there were 674 people hospitalized, a decline of 57 since Thursday and the lowest number in months.

“That’s because Connecticut is smart, they’re getting vaccinated, they’re wearing the mask. It’s making a difference," he said. ”Do things that make a difference a little bit longer ... and it will be a great spring here in Connecticut.”

This week, residents 65 years and older were able to begin signing up for vaccination appointments. Lamont, who is 67, said Friday that he hopes to get his first shot in the coming days.

“Usually people lie about their age in the other direction. This is a time where people are pretty happy to be 65 or over,” he said. “I’ll get vaccinated, I hope next week.”

Meanwhile, there were 838 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 infections since Thursday. The number of COVID-associated deaths increased by 27, for a total of 7,381 people. Researchers at Johns Hopkins said Connecticut's death rate as of Thursday ranked the 21st highest in the country overall and the eighth highest per 100,000 people.

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health also reported 22 additional cases of the new coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. To date, there have now been a total of 42 cases of the B117 variant in Connecticut.

The newly identified cases stem from specimens that were collected between Jan. 12 and Feb. 3. The individuals involved range in age from 5 to 90 and are residents of 19 communities.