HARTFORD (AP) — Connecticut has decided to move its presidential primary to a later date to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the primary set for April 28 will now be held June 2. Connecticut is the latest state to postpone primary elections amid the global pandemic. Maryland, another state that was part of the April 28 primary, dubbed the “Acela Primary” or “I-95 Primary," also moved its primary to June 2.

The other states to postpone are Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio.

Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill said that moving the primary date is a “good first step” toward giving Connecticut voters a say in the selection of presidential candidates while also ensuring that they're safe at the polls. She said it will also give local election officials more time to prepare.

“Changing an election date is not something we do lightly — it’s a recognition of the severity and nature of this crisis, and more steps may be necessary to guarantee that every CT voter has an opportunity to cast their ballot,” she wrote in a tweet.

Earlier this week, the presidents of associations representing local registrars of voters and town clerks sent letters to Merrill, asking her to call on Lamont to postpone the primary by using his authority under a recently enacted state emergency order.

Connecticut's change makes it mathematically impossible for Joe Biden to clinch the Democratic nomination before May.

The delay of the primary comes as state officials warn there will likely be more positive cases of the coronavirus in the coming weeks.

On Thursday night, officials reported that third person with COVID-19 had died in Connecticut. Lamont said that the victim was a New Canaan man in his 80s. It was announced Wednesday night at a town council meeting that another New Canaan resident, a 91-year-old man, had died. Both men were living in private homes.

The first death, a man in his 80s from Ridgefield, died Wednesday at Danbury Hospital. He had been a resident of an assisted living facility in Ridgefield.

The number of positive cases in Connecticut climbed by more than 60 since Wednesday, surpassing 150 statewide. The new total on Thursday includes the first cases reported from Tolland and Windham counties. New London is the only county in Connecticut that has not yet reported a positive case.

A Maine-based independent bioresearch institution announced Thursday it will begin conducting 150 tests a day for the coronavirus at its Connecticut laboratory. The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine will conduct the testing of samples obtained by medical organizations, including UConn Health and Hartford HealthCare.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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