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TYLER RUSSELL / Connecticut Public

Beginning Monday, Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks will add a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site open to travelers and all other community members.

The Connecticut Airport Authority is partnering with Hartford HealthCare to run the site in parking Lot 3 off Schoephoester Road. This will be the health organization’s ninth permanent testing location in the state. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A statewide coalition of lawmakers, activists and health experts Thursday announced that health care reform will be a top priority heading into the next legislative session.

Coalition leaders at a news conference at the Capitol building said the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent election have become driving factors in reintroducing a plan for a public option health insurance program for Connecticut residents, small businesses and nonprofits. 

Courtesy of Access Health CT

The first week in November marks a busy time as COVID-19 cases climb in Connecticut and the nation faces a contentious presidential election.  

But health advocates want people to remember that it’s also the first week of open enrollment in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. 

Illustration by Chion Wolf, candy corn photo by Skeeze on Pixabay

This hour, visit a West Hartford history professor’s eye-opening Halloween display about Black Lives Matter and Covid-19, and hear what passersby think of it.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Health care workers stood along Route 195 out in front of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield Thursday afternoon as they waved signs and used megaphones to demand better workplace protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When Debra O’Neall gets home from her overnight shift at a nursing home in Danbury, she removes her scrubs and jumps in the shower before she does anything else.

Later, she settles in on the sofa, turns on the news, picks up a sketchbook from the coffee table and begins to draw.  

Backus Nurses' Union Reaches Deal With Hospital Over New Contract

Oct 22, 2020
Nurses stand on the picket line on Oct. 13 outside Backus Hospital in Norwich. They have asked the hospital to provide sufficient protective gear and offer fair pay to retain experienced workers.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

A union representing more than 400 nurses at Backus Hospital approved by a near-unanimous vote on Wednesday a new, four-year contract that includes pay increases and ends a weeks-long standoff between the hospital and employees that triggered a two-day nurses’ strike.

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. 

Sipa via AP Images

With few answers on how and when a COVID-19 vaccine will actually be available, Connecticut has submitted a draft plan to the federal government on how it will execute statewide mass vaccination.

The 77-page document, submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Oct. 16 deadline, outlines potential groups of people who would receive priority status for getting doses early on and how the state will coordinate vaccine administration by medical providers. 

Illustration by Chion Wolf

Imagine feeling like you have glass shards running through your blood, and imagine your doctors don’t believe how much pain you’re in.

Then, imagine you’re in a different body, incapable of feeling any pain at all.

Then, in body number three, you inflict pain on yourself so you can rate it. For science.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In raincoats, plastic ponchos and masks, Backus Hospital workers and their families Tuesday lined both sides of Washington Street in Norwich near the facility’s entrance. They held signs, waved to oncoming traffic and chanted.

“Nurses united will never be divided!” 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Small increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in northeastern cities and states like Connecticut have White House health officials concerned about “troubling signs” of the pandemic’s spread this fall and winter. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A large group of people in red and yellow reflective vests huddled together on the Wolcott Town Green at around 9 a.m. Tuesday. Some of them work for the Chesprocott Health District, and others were volunteers with the region’s Medical Reserve Corps.

The day began with overcast skies. It looked like it might rain, again. The grass was still wet. 

ELLA'S DAD / Creative Commons

A new statewide mandate that requires children 3 years and older to wear a mask while attending child care and preschools took effect last week.

Child care providers and educators will have a grace period to adjust, but Carly Adames said the kids at her center in Greenwich probably won’t need it. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Racism is trauma. But racism’s impact on mental health can be hard to talk about. In this third episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we hear about the stressors to mental health in the region and ways to get relief. 

DAVE WURTZEL / Connecticut Public

Friends and families of Connecticut’s nursing home residents are now allowed to make indoor, in-person visits under new guidelines from state officials. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Less than a week after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, her vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court has set up what is sure to be a contentious battle among legislators on how to proceed.

However uncertain that process may be, the court is still set to hear arguments beginning a week after the presidential election for a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. 

VA Connecticut Hiring Practices Under Investigation

Sep 22, 2020
 Sandra Salmon, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2138, filed the Special Counsel complaint.
Melanie Stengel / Connecticut Health I-Team

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating allegations of illegal employment practices at VA Connecticut Healthcare System connected to the hiring of seven employees­­—some in top management positions­—who are all former co-workers of the system’s director.

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.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Weeks of state investigations, monitoring and intervention at Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich following a COVID-19 outbreak has culminated in the imminent relocation of all residents.

In a rare and unprecedented move, the Department of Public Health's acting commissioner Deidre Gifford signed an emergency order Wednesday requiring the facility to discharge its 53 residents to other long-term care facilities. 

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

This story has been updated.

Rev. Elvin Clayton has been the pastor at Walter’s Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Bridgeport for the past six years.

And in the COVID-19 era, Sunday mornings look a little different -- Clayton speaks at the pulpit from behind glass partitions, keeps services to an hour and broadcasts it all live on Facebook. 

“We’ve had great success thus far with it,” he said. 

jwblinn/iStock / Thinkstock

After reviewing requests by Connecticut insurers to increase health insurance premiums, and considering public testimony, the state Insurance Department has approved next year’s rates at significantly lower levels than requested. 

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. 

Alabama Extension / Flickr/Creative Commons

Connecticut residents are struggling to afford health care costs and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden -- that’s according to results from a new statewide survey released Tuesday.

“The job loss and the resulting lack of wages that we’re seeing because of COVID-19 increases the likelihood that people are going to struggle to afford needed care,” said Amanda Hunt, co-deputy director of the Healthcare Value Hub at Altarum. 

The Placebo Effect

Aug 31, 2020
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight after doctors had given up on a medical cure. 

Doctors often dismiss the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments - even when studies show that placebos can reduce the pain of arthritic knees as well as in some surgical procedures like arthroscopy

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.

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State officials are investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich, where one resident has died and several have been hospitalized.

The Department of Public Health has so far identified 13 residents and two staff members infected with the virus -- it’s the largest outbreak at a single nursing facility in about a month, according to state data. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The pandemic is raising questions about what’s best for children as they head into a new school year, as many schools continue to finalize plans for this fall and parents make individual decisions for their families.

Megan Goslin, a clinical psychologist and research scientist at Yale’s Child Study Center, said it’s a difficult time for everyone. 

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.

Jeremy L. Grisham /

At least two Connecticut studies and a federal report show that the percentage of health care workers and residents in the overall population who have been previously infected with COVID-19 remains small, despite ongoing cases and hospitalizations.

And the numbers don’t come close to achieving herd immunity, when disease transmission is minimal because most people in a community are protected after vaccination or previous infection. 

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