The Latest On Connecticut's Response To Coronavirus | Connecticut Public Radio
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The Latest On Connecticut's Response To Coronavirus

Mar 6, 2020

This post is no longer being updated.

Events are being canceled and schools are turning to remote learning as Connecticut residents and officials attempt to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Here’s the latest on what we know about coronavirus in the state and region:

  • Updated Thursday, March 12 at 1.30pm. The biggest school systems in southwestern Connecticut are closing their doors as coronavirus spreads through that part of the state. Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven public schools are all canceling classes. Bridgeport will close tomorrow, and be shut down all of next week. Stamford will also close tomorrow, for at least two weeks. New Haven schools will be closed indefinitely.
  • From the state's Judicial Branch: Effective immediately, with the exception of jury trials currently in progress and criminal jury trials necessitated by the filing and granting of a speedy trial motion, all jury trials, civil and criminal, are suspended for the next 30 days. 
  • Updated Tuesday, March 10 at 7.30pm. Gov. Ned Lamont has declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies as Connecticut prepares to face the spread of the coronavirus. Lamont said hopes the emergency declaration helps to ramp up COVID-19 testing in the state. The declarations also may allow some consumers and businesses whose travel has been impacted by the outbreak to benefit from travel insurance and other related coverage. The announcement also triggers price gouging laws, and makes clear that municipal leaders have emergency powers to mitigate disasters and emergencies.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 10 at 12.30pm. The CIAC, the governing body of high schools sports in Connecticut, is canceling the remainder of its winter championship tournaments. The body said it is weighing the health and safety of student-athletes, parents, and fans given the uncertainty that surrounds the spread of the virus.
  • The state Department of Public Health is asking nursing homes to restrict visitors, except when a patient is being given hospice or end-of-life care.
  • At the state capitol, Tuesday's legislative business will proceed largely as normal, but Wednesday business will be limited. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says the building will be cleaned later in the week.
  • Hartford has followed the lead of New Haven, and postponed its St. Patrick's Day parade. The city also says other major events will likely be canceled or postponed as the situation develops.
  • Updated Monday, March 9 at 9:18pm. A second state resident has tested positive for the coronavirus, state Department of Health officials confirmed. The patient is from the Bridgeport area.
  • At least two Connecticut universities are canceling in-person classes, exams and major campus events due to coronavirus. Sacred Heart University officials say they are moving all classes online starting Wednesday through March 29. Campus residences, dining halls and recreation areas will remain open. The University of New Haven is suspending classes and exams up through March 14, when spring break begins. UNH residence halls will close.
  • New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker has postponed the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, citing growing concern for the potential spread of COVID-19. In a statement, Elicker said the parade's ability to draw thousands of out of town visitors presents a risk to the health and safety of the city.
  • Updated Sunday, March 8. A Wilton man has become Connecticut’s first presumptive positive coronavirus case, state officials announced Sunday afternoon. Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release that the patient is between 40 and 50 years old and is being treated at Danbury Hospital. Officials said this person likely became infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness during a recent trip to California.
  • Updated Saturday, March 7 at 12:30 p.m.: Officials announced Saturday that a second resident of New York state who works in Connecticut has tested positive for coronavirus.  The individual is “a community physician who made rounds at Bridgeport Hospital and did not show signs or symptoms of coronavirus while working with patients and stayed home to self-monitor.”
  • Updated Friday, March  6 at 8 p.m.: Connecticut officials have announced that an employee from Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital who is a resident of New York State has tested positive for coronavirus. Gov. Ned Lamont said this in a release:

“This afternoon we learned that patients and staff at both Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals may have been exposed to COVID-19 coronavirus disease as a result of a hospital employee who lives in Westchester County, New York and has tested positive for the virus. This individual was exposed to the virus while in their home community of Westchester County by another individual who has tested positive, and then the individual worked shifts at both hospitals. The hospital employee is currently at their home, where they are in isolation and recovering.

  • State officials in Hartford Friday said they want to expand coronavirus testing “dramatically” in the next couple days and weeks. Gov. Ned Lamont said this will cover more people who need to be tested or treated quickly. 
  • Josh Geballe, the governor’s chief operating officer, said several major hospitals throughout the state are seeking to get approval from the federal government to process coronavirus tests themselves, which would enable them to get results on site instead of waiting on the state health lab. 
  • Several private health insurance companies have said that they will cover coronavirus testing, to varying degrees. Bloomfield-based Cigna is the first to announce it will cover the testing at no cost to its customers. 
  • The governor’s office says 42 people have been tested for the disease caused by the virus. Of those tests, and all have come back negative. Eleven tests are pending.
  • At least 200 people are being monitored for COVID-19 in the state and are self-quarantined.
  • Hartford HealthCare plans to open a 24-hour hotline to answer questions from the public and clinicians about COVID-19.
  • Gov. Ned Lamont has requested more testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • The state is working with Quest Diagnostics to expand the testing capacity. The Connecticut Mirror says it’s unclear how much that will grow the testing capacity, which is currently limited to 15-20 tests per day at the state’s lab in Rocky Hill.
  • In New York, 18 people in Westchester County have tested positive and all of them had contact with a lawyer who was confirmed to have the disease. That man lives in New Rochelle, which is on Metro-North’s New Haven Line. The MTA has increased sanitization efforts and The Gothamist tagged along with a cleaning crew. 
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro is introducing new emergency paid sick leave legislation that would require all employers to provide 14 paid sick days in the event of a public health emergency, like the current coronavirus outbreak.
  • Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are briefing local officials in the state on federal efforts.

Note: To see the full map below on a mobile browser or tablet, put your device in horizontal mode. 

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What should you do?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol -- and no, you can’t use Tito’s vodka. If you don’t believe that, ask Tito’s yourself.
  • Keep your distance and avoid kissing.
  • Should you cancel your travel plans? WBUR has answers to your travel questions.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association has a guide for employers about how to handle the coronavirus.
  • And, again, wash your hands.

Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live also spoke to several medical professionals to answer listener questions about the virus.