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Coronavirus

Mark Twain Hartford Public Library
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Over the years, Hartford’s downtown public library has become a welcoming place for people in immigrant communities and for those experiencing homelessness. 

Since the branch had to close its doors over a month ago because of the coronavirus, the Hartford Public Library staff has been working to continue to serve those communities.

oak hill
Courtesy: Oak Hill

Much has been made of the insufficient federal efforts to get money and personal protective equipment to front-line medical workers during this pandemic. But many of Connecticut’s nonprofit community care providers have a bone to pick with the state in that regard. Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith spoke with Barry Simon, the CEO of Oak Hill, the state’s largest nonprofit social services provider.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

More than a dozen states have unveiled formal plans to move from coronavirus disaster response and toward reconstruction, the White House said Thursday, but officials also didn't rule out the need for more mitigation.

Vice President Pence said that 16 states have released formal plans about progressing out of the crisis. Many are pursuing a "phased approach" county by county, he said, pointing specifically to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Idaho.

CT’s Economic Emergence From COVID-19: Small Steps With Lots Of Testing

Apr 23, 2020
a closed sign
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s economy likely will reemerge from the coronavirus pandemic in many small steps, beginning in June and continuing throughout the year, Gov. Ned Lamont’s chief advisers predicted Thursday.

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

 

Black Americans are disproportionately contracting and dying from COVID-19. It’s no different in Connecticut, where about 12% of the state’s population is black, but the rates of infections and deaths are higher when compared to white residents, according to data that includes a patient's race or ethnicity.

Dr. Saud Anwar, demonstrating a successful simulation to ventilate 7 patients with one ventilator using the quad splitter
Courtesy of Saud Anwar

As Connecticut approaches its peak in hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases, health systems continue to prepare so they can keep patients alive.

Connecticut State Senator and intensive care doctor, Saud Anwar worries ventilator capacities may soon become overstretched. So he reached out to friends in the design and manufacturing communities to create a novel solution. This hour, we hear more from Dr. Anwar as we talk about innovation during this public health crisis.  

Dave Wurtzel/Connecticut Public

When Connecticut schools closed in mid-March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, most school nurses thought they'd be out of work for a while. But when COVID-19 drive-thru testing began in the Bristol-Burlington region, school nurses from the local health district stepped up to help staff the specimen collection station.

zoom meeting
Facebook

As the world shifts to online communication during this pandemic, people are finding creative ways to replicate face-to-face situations in the virtual world -- think business meetings, online cocktail hours and livestreaming concerts.

But technology hasn’t quite caught up with at least one type of real-life endeavor -- choral singing.

Osborn Correctional Institute
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

With over 500 inmates and staff testing positive for COVID-19, there’s concern that people in Connecticut prisons are at high risk.

One 80-year-old man incarcerated in a medium-security prison had a lawsuit filed on his behalf to get immediate release.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said he disagreed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to re-open a number of industries in his state, including hair salons and tattoo parlors, saying that he thought the move was premature in the face of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump broke with the Republican governor's call to ease social distancing rules in the state beginning on Friday, despite Trump's own insistence that some states could begin to relax mitigation measures before the beginning of May.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Around 15,000 small businesses in Connecticut were “frozen out” of a federal relief program that ran out of money, Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday. 

Nursing Homes Prove To Be Ideal Breeding Ground For The Coronavirus Pandemic

Apr 22, 2020
nursing home
Connecticut Health I-Team

As cases of COVID-19 surged throughout Connecticut and the nation, “a perfect storm” of circumstances rendered nursing homes unable to handle the crisis, hastening the virus’ spread and deaths, experts say.

“It’s just kind of this perfect storm. It’s just the nature of the beast. This is the worst situation for a virus like this,” said Dr. David Hill, professor of medical science and director of global public health at Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

Wikimedia Commons

In March, President Trump blamed our global pandemic on China. When that didn't work, he blamed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding quickly enough to the virus. When that didn't work, he blamed governors for not getting their own supplies. Now, he says immigrants will take away American jobs.

The Bible defines a scapegoat as one of two kid goats. One goat was sacrificed and the living “scapegoat” was supposed to absorb the sins of the community and carry them into the wilderness. Is that what's happening here? Are the president's scapegoats supposed to carry away the sins of Mr. Trump?

grocery store supermarket
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Grocery store workers want help from the state to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces.

They’re asking the governor to label them ‘front line workers’, a move that would help them blunt the impact of the coronavirus.

social distancing
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Just a couple of weeks ago, Mary Gotlibowski was still going from hospital to hospital, working as an emergency room recovery coach and meeting with patients who had survived a drug overdose or those who had come in seeking help for addiction.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread throughout Connecticut and hospitals began to admit infected patients, Gotlibowski and other coaches had to leave their posts in the emergency departments. 

Dr. Patrick Broderick
Courtesy: Nuvance Health

The coronavirus has hit many hospital emergency rooms like a storm. Connecticut Public Radio’s Diane Orson spoke with Dr. Patrick Broderick, chair of emergency medicine at Danbury Hospital -- part of Nuvance Health in Fairfield County.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to sign the latest coronavirus relief legislation nearing the finish line in Washington on Tuesday after it was passed by the Senate.

Members of Congress have reached an agreement on about $484 billion more in relief funding to help small businesses and others hurt by the mitigation measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

The House could vote as soon as Wednesday.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont announced a partnership with Quest Diagnostics on Tuesday that he said will boost the state’s capacity to test for COVID-19. The announcement comes as officials said 35 people have died from complications related to coronavirus at Kimberly Hall North, a nursing home in Windsor. 

yale new haven; nurse; sara newman;
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As the number of critically ill coronavirus patients began to rise in New Haven, several floors of Smilow Cancer Hospital were converted into intensive care wards. Sara Newman has been a nurse for 39 years and is the nurse manager overseeing the vast majority of Yale New Haven Hospital’s sickest COVID-19 patients. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The huge traffic jam at Rentschler Field Monday morning had nothing to do with football. The organization Foodshare held the first session of a week-long daily drive-through foodbank. The event saw Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz among the volunteers passing out food. 

package store sign
Alastair Battson / Creative Commons

Consider the plight of the alcoholic during this coronavirus shutdown. Liquor is still widely available at stores and even now via delivery. At the same time, social distancing means in-person recovery meetings are out of the question. Connecticut Public Radio's John Henry Smith spoke with Michael Askew, director of recovery advocacy for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery. 

Updated at 7:42 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that adequate coronavirus testing existed but was being underutilized by governors, following a chorus of complaints by state leaders and health care experts regarding the country's insufficient testing capacity.

national guard
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont painted a picture Monday of a state with an eventually reopened economy undergirded by rapid testing and data collection. 

But how officials will use that data to inform public health actions in the coming months is an open question. 

Fear Grips Health Workers Caring For The Elderly

Apr 20, 2020
BLOOMFIELD, CT - March 25, COVID-19 Testing supplies at the Urgent Care Center of Connecticut on March 25, 2020 in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

For the past month or so, Leikish Nails has engaged in an elaborate ritual the minute she gets home from her shift at Touchpoints at Manchester, a skilled nursing facility that has seen four deaths and more than two dozen illnesses caused by COVID-19.

Brewery Legitimus
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The state recently tossed a lifeline out to more than 100 craft brewers as part of an effort to keep people in their homes. Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order on April 2 allowing liquor permittees to deliver alcohol to state residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Last month, the Connecticut Department of Labor received more than 300,000 unemployment claims. Last week, Governor Ned Lamont announced the formation of a multi-state council to get people back to work and restore the economy.

This hour, we’re speaking with Governor Lamont to understand just what this means. What will easing COVID-19 restrictions look like?

Later, we will hear from the Connecticut Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski on how those claims are being processed. 

We want to hear from you. What questions do you have for Governor Lamont, and Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Refugees Ibrahim Aldabaan and Adeebah Alnemar and their five children escaped Syria’s bloody civil war to restart their life in Connecticut in 2016. The family moved to West Hartford, where Alnemar got a job working as a cook for a Catholic church, and Aldabaan found work delivering packages for Amazon. But now, the refugee family is facing a new hardship: both parents have contracted COVID-19.

PPE delivery
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Members of Connecticut’s Chinese American community made a donation of personal protective equipment for the state’s health care workers Friday.

Local volunteers led by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology sourced 5,000 respirator masks and 15,000 surgical masks, as well as 4,000 gowns. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The state reported an additional 41 coronavirus-related deaths Sunday, but it also reported that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have decreased for the second day in a row.

The new figures bring the state’s total coronavirus-associated death count to 1,127. Still, Gov. Ned. Lamont said Sunday that the slight downward tick of hospitalized patients -- 37 fewer patients from the day before -- is a positive sign.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

One can't help but wonder if the President understands that getting through this pandemic will not be a quick sprint. 

On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced guidelines for states to begin reopening the economy, with a goal to begin by May 1. On Friday, the President personally encouraged protesters in Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, to "liberate" their states from onerous social-distancing guidelines imposed by their Democratic governors.  On Saturday, protesters from other states joined the fray. 

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