Daily Coronavirus Updates | Connecticut Public Radio
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Daily Coronavirus Updates

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The timeline on a COVID-19 vaccine is generally unknown, but whether one is approved this year or the next, Wizdom Powell said it won’t help much if Black residents lack confidence in its safety and effectiveness.

“There’s so many stories of Black folks surrendering their bodies to medical institutions and coming out worse after,” said Powell, who is director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. 

COVID Skipped Southeast CT On Its First Pass. Not This Time.

Oct 16, 2020
The COVID-19 alert map will be updated weekly.
Gov. Ned Lamont's Office

Connecticut’s southeastern communities, spared from the initial punch COVID-19 landed on a wide swath of metropolitan New York and Fairfield County, are now at the center of an outbreak that reinforces the persistence of the novel coronavirus.

CT Faces Its Single-Largest COVID-19 Infection Spike In Four Months

Oct 13, 2020
Cumulative number of COVID-19 cases by town. Map does not include 136 cases pending address validation.
Department of Public Health

The state recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 rate in four months on Monday, with nearly 2.5 percent of all tests coming back positive, said Gov. Ned Lamont during his Tuesday briefing.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Hartford HealthCare announced it has updated guidance on how masks are distributed to health care workers. The announcement comes after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the network for two alleged “serious” violations at Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Hartford HealthCare said this week it is challenging thousands of dollars in federal fines for alleged safety violations at Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield. 

The announcement, which was made Tuesday, follows an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which cited the psychiatric facility for its record-keeping practices and supplies of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Gov. Ned Lamont has tasked a panel with deciding who will get priority when a vaccine becomes available.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

A panel of 15-20 individuals not yet appointed by Gov. Ned Lamont will help make one of the toughest decisions facing the governor this fall: who in Connecticut will receive priority when a COVID-19 vaccine is finally available.

Lamont: 'This Is The Exact Wrong Time To Relax Your Guard'

Oct 6, 2020
Governor Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

With a worrying 3% positivity rate in southeastern Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont advised continuing vigilance against COVID-19 on Monday, contradicting President Donald J. Trump’s upbeat tweet after undergoing cutting-edge treatment for the disease.

COVID Outbreak Confirmed At Colchester Nursing Home

Oct 1, 2020
FILE PHOTO: A COVID-19 test ready to be packaged for testing at the Urgent Care Center of Connecticut on March 25, 2020 in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Joe Amon/ / Connecticut Public/NENC

As coronavirus cases rise statewide, a Colchester nursing home reported an outbreak this week involving more than half its population, with 56 new cases in total among residents and staff.

Survivors Struggle With Lingering COVID-19 Symptoms

Sep 30, 2020
Kelli Custer, 52, of New Milford is on medical leave from work. Though she tested negative for COVID, she has several symptoms of the virus, including cough, tachycardia, and pulmonary embolism.
Kelli Custer / Conn. Health Investigative Team

In April, Rhonda Eigabroadt, 53, showed up at the ER at MidState Medical Center in Meriden, struggling to breathe. Doctors did not expect her to survive the night, she recalled.

UConn Asks For $104 Million Bailout; Considering Layoffs, Hospital Borrows $45 Million

Sep 30, 2020
Denise Rickevicius, from Watertown, carries her daughter’s belongings as she moves into a UConn dormitory last month. The number of on-campus students has been sharply limited this year and has brought a loss of revenue.
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

Officials at the University of Connecticut and its health center on Wednesday asked the state for a $104.4 million bailout and warned they may need significantly more if the coronavirus shuts down the campus and hospital again.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

It took Rich Scalora and his crew four days to drive from Connecticut to the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in northwest California. Normally they’d hop on a plane and be there in a day. But this year COVID-19 forced the 10-person crew onto the road, for a drive out West that contained hints of what they’d face in California. 

Courtesy: Darien Public Schools

Students in Darien returned to the classroom full time Tuesday after a month of hybrid learning, despite a request from teachers to wait a few more weeks. They say there isn’t enough space for all students to learn safely.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Connecticut’s ban on utility shut-offs during the COVID-19 pandemic will expire at the end of the month, but state regulators said last week that utility companies haven’t done enough to educate customers about alternative payment programs. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

A psychiatric facility in eastern Connecticut has been cited by federal workplace safety inspectors for alleged safety violations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed around $13,500 in penalties for Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.

Pandemic Deals Another Blow To Nursing Homes: Plummeting Occupancy

Sep 21, 2020
An employee at nursing facility Kimberly Hall South in Windsor visits with a resident through her window in May.
DAVE WURTZEL / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC / DAVE WURTZEL / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC

While the deadly coronavirus seems to be subsiding in Connecticut for now, its impact on nursing homes has not. More than 6,700 beds are empty, and it may take many months of financial struggle before occupancy climbs back to pre-pandemic levels.

Some of the computers Bridgeport Public Schools received this summer to help students still learning at home.
LINDA CONNER LAMBECK / HEARST CT MEDIA

With most school districts in Connecticut requiring that students learn online at least part of the time, the Lamont administration announced Tuesday that 20,000 of the 81,000 students who need a laptop for classes will receive one in the next few weeks.

Efforts To Reduce COVID-19’s Spread Could Impact Health Outcomes For New Mothers And Infants

Sep 14, 2020
Felicia Tombascio and her daughter, Anastasia Marie Cordero.
handout photo / Connecticut Health I-Team

Felicia Tambascio’s first pregnancy was going fairly smoothly. But on July 20, at week 38, the 20-year-old Brookfield resident woke with horrible upper abdominal cramps, a searing headache, and vomiting. Her boyfriend took her to the hospital, but Tambascio was left to wait in a hallway alone. Per COVID-19 restrictions, no visitors were allowed unless the patient was admitted to labor and delivery. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

High school football players and their parents from across the state are urging the governing body of high school sports to change course and allow for a football season this year.

Thousands Wait Months For Unemployment Compensation During COVID

Sep 8, 2020
Jamie Kelo visits Avery Point Beach in Groton nearly every day as a way of managing stress. “When I come here, I feel like my problems go away. I can really focus,” Kelo said. “Because it’s just too much.”
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

When Jamie Kelo lost her $20,000-a-year job as a receptionist at a hair salon in New London after COVID-19 touched down in Connecticut, she thought she could rely on unemployment benefits to help cover some of her bills.

She was wrong.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

When Connecticut officials approved more than $34 million in contracts with private vendors to test for coronavirus at nursing homes, the contracts shared a common clause: The Department of Public Health wanted quick results, ideally, within one day.  But interviews with health officials, contracted vendors and state documents show that hasn’t always been the case.

Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

State public health officials said they’ll work to more aggressively test staff at nursing homes for COVID-19. But officials in the eldercare industry said Friday they’re still waiting for formal guidance on those changes from the state Department of Public Health. 

An inpatient treatment facility for substance abuse is the site of one recent COVID-19 outbreak in Danbury, according to the state Department of Public Health. 

A health care worker prepares to administer a nasal swab for a COVID-19 drive-by testing site
JOE AMON / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC/NENC

Connecticut public health officials have issued an alert to Danbury residents after what the state called a “significant spike” in new coronavirus cases.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

As state officials continue to investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Norwich that killed one resident this month and hospitalized several more, one outstanding question is whether workers tested for COVID-19 were properly notified of their results.

A sign for coronavirus testing outside of a CVS drive-through in Hartford, Conn.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Pubic

Scientists at the Yale School of Public Health say they have developed a quick, affordable COVID-19 saliva test, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted it emergency-use authorization. It’s called SalivaDirect, and one of its project leaders is Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health. Wyllie spoke on All Things Considered about why this testing method is better than the swab method, the crucial role the NBA played in its development, and the price she and her team had to pay to make this dream a reality.

Pandemic Worsens 'Already Fragile' Situation for Homeless Youth, Young Adults

Aug 18, 2020
Residents of Malta House in Norwalk gather and play with their children.
Malta House Handout Photo

Johanna Vasquez, 19, and her 4-month-old baby ended up at Malta House in Norwalk as a result of an abusive relationship. Vasquez’s boyfriend hit her, she said, because he was home without a job and “was stressed.”

Report Offers Clues To What Went Wrong In Lethal COVID Outbreak In Nursing Homes

Aug 18, 2020
Some of the nursing staff at Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield in the early stages of the outbreak.
CTMirror.org

COVID-19 hit nursing homes in the Northeast states particularly hard, but those living in Connecticut long-term care facilities died more frequently than in any other state – a result of missteps by the state and a nursing home industry hamstrung by limited knowledge of the pathogen’s nature, how it spreads and to whom it posed the greatest risks.

Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

Once a week outside a Newington nursing home, Peggy Johnson stands masked, 6 feet apart from her 94-year-old mom, imagining what it would be like to hug again. 

Henry Boulton, capacity monitor at a poll at Conard High School in West Hartford, gives an instruction to Elizabeth Davis who voted for the first time on Tuesday,
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

The top-line races were easy. Soon after the polls closed Tuesday night, the Associated Press declared Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Joe Biden winners of the year’s final presidential nomination contest, the twice-delayed Connecticut primary.

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