Coronavirus in Connecticut: March 2020

Connecticut (WABC) -- Connecticut coronavirus coverage from March 2020.



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CORONAVIRUS CONNECTICUT MARCH UPDATES AND NEWS



MARCH 31, 2020

Mortgage grace period
The state has announced an agreement with unions and banks in Connecticut to offer a 90-day mortgage grace period for residents and businesses.

Lamont considering more ways to keep people at home
Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday he's considering narrowing the list of businesses considered essential to keep people home, predicting April will be a "horrible month" for coronavirus cases in Connecticut. Lamont said more needs to be done to persuade young people that social distancing is crucial to reducing the spread of the virus, noting the infection rate is expected to peak in Connecticut over the coming weeks.

Webster Bank Arena medical equipment
Medical equipment begins arriving at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

A team of workers is converting the arena into a 128-bed facility to house patients showing mild coronavirus symptoms.

The temporary facility will be overseen by the state emergency operations center.

MARCH 30, 2020

Governor's Health System Response Team
Governor Ned Lamont announced details on the latest collaboration to assist in the state's coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is appointing the CEOs of three of the largest hospital systems in Connecticut - Hartford HealthCare, Nuvance Health, and Yale New Haven Health - to serve as co-chairs of the Governor's Health System Response Team.

Cases continue to rise
Coronavirus cases in Connecticut continue to rise each day. Since Sunday, an additional 578 Connecticut residents have tested positive, bringing the total to 2,571.

At least 517 people have been hospitalized and there have been 36 fatalities.

Arena conversion
Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport will be set up to house patients as hospitals in the region brace for an increase in the number of people with the coronavirus, the mayor said.

Medical equipment will arrive there by Tuesday, and it will hold 128 beds to accommodate the overflow from hospitals and take in ambulatory or mildly symptomatic patients, Mayor Joe Ganim said.

Prisoner tests positive
An inmate at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville has become the first prisoner in Connecticut to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Correction announced Monday.

MARCH 29, 2020

Death toll increases
Officials announced there are now 1,993 positive cases of coronavirus in Connecticut, and 404 of those patients are in the hospital. The death toll has increased by one since Saturday, for a total of 34 deaths.
More ventilators needed
This morning Governor Lamont visited the headquarters of Bio-Med Devices in Guilford, where he toured the manufacturing facility and executed a purchase order for 100 ventilators that will be used in hospitals throughout Connecticut. Employees at the company have been working seven days a week to keep up with demand.

Declaration approved
Governor Ned Lamont announced that his request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Connecticut had been approved by FEMA, unlocking additional federal assistance programs for the state.
That means impacted state agencies and municipalities in all eight counties will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the costs associated with their response and emergency protective measures.



MARCH 28, 2020

President Trump says federally enforced quarantine in NY, NJ, CT 'not necessary'
President Trump said in a Tweet Saturday night that a federally enforced quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is not necessary. Instead he asked the CDC to issue a strong Travel Advisory.



Latest update on toll in Connecticut
Lamont said there were 33 deaths so far in Connecticut, up six from Friday, with 32 new hospitalizations. Five of those new deaths happened in Fairfield County. There were a total of 1,524 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among state residents, with cases in every county.
Most of the deaths were in Fairfield County, with 20, followed by New Haven County, with 6; Tolland County, with 4; Hartford County, with 2; and Middlesex County, with 1.

MARCH 27, 2020

Prioritizing Tests
Governor Lamont said the state will rely on people self-diagnosing and self-quarantining for 14 days if they have any symptoms. He said because of the scarcity of personal protective equipment, the state is prioritizing the use of nurses for the treatment of those critically ill rather than testing. Lamont also urged New Yorkers and others from out of state to stay home and avoid traveling to Connecticut unless absolutely necessary. He ordered those who do come to the state to self-quarantine until they can be sure they are healthy.

MARCH 26, 2020

Death toll rises
Officials announced that the state currently has 1,012 cases and 21 people have died. There are 125 people hospitalized and more than 6,500 tests have been performed statewide.

Gov. Lamont makes disaster request

Governor Ned Lamont has submitted a request to FEMA for a presidential major disaster declaration resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the State of Connecticut.

The governor is requesting public assistance for all eight of the state's counties, including all four supplemental assistance programs under the Individual Assistance Program: Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling program, Disaster Case Management, and Disaster Legal Services. Additionally, he is requesting Individuals and Households Program Other Needs Categories of Child Care Assistance and Funeral Assistance.

Track and Field star dies

Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83.

Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk's city clerk, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

MARCH 25, 2020

Unemployment claims skyrocket
Connecticut received more than 72,000 unemployment claims in just one week, from March 13 to 20, officials said. In a more typical week there are 3,000 to 3,500 claims. The surge in filings is leading to longer-than-usual waits for payments.

Early fishing season
After state officials received numerous online requests from anxious anglers, Gov. Ned Lamont has opened fishing season early this year. Mike Beauchene, supervising fisheries biologist, said an early opening day will also help "flatten the curve" of people who normally come out in large numbers on opening day each year. Fishing season was originally set for April 11

Businesses adapt to new order
Connecticut businesses adapted to new social distancing guidelines Tuesday, and state lawmakers were planning to continue work on an assistance package for small companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak despite the postponement of the legislative session.

MARCH 24, 2020
Cases rising across the state
While more than 62% of the total cases are from Fairfield County, Lamont noted how the number of cases in New Haven County doubled since Monday, from 41 to 89. He said the rest of the state should prepare for "what will be coming." Lamont said he expects the numbers will continue to escalate for at least another week or two.

Non-essential businesses shut down
Small business owners were making adjustments Tuesday, the first full day under an order by Lamont that directs nonessential businesses to prohibit all in-person functions and urges people to stay home. Bicycles East in Glastonbury remained open because repair shops are considered essential businesses. But they are not letting customers into the store.

MARCH 23, 2020

More positive cases
By Monday afternoon, there were 415 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state with 10 deaths.

Actions to increase hospital capacity
Gov. Ned Lamont said the state is working to find more hospital beds and wants hospitals to reduce capacity by eliminating elective surgeries. He is also looking to free up 2,000 nursing home beds, have mobile field hospitals, and perhaps even use vacated college dorm rooms.

Connecticut joins other states shutting down non-essentials
Non-essential businesses across the state, including many retail stores, must shut down temporarily starting at 8 p.m.

Full list of essential and non-essential businesses in CT

MARCH 22, 2020

Cases still rising
Gov. Ned Lamont say 223 people in the state have been diagnosed with the virus, including 43 hospitalized for treatment. Five people have died.

MARCH 21, 2020

5th death in the state
A nursing home resident in his 80s is the fifth Connecticut resident to die from the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont said Saturday.

State shut down begins Monday
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that calls on non-essential businesses across the state, including many retail stores, to shut down temporarily. The order requires all "non-essential" businesses, to the extent possible, to reduce their in-person workforces by 100% no later than Monday at 8 p.m.

MARCH 20, 2020
Testings and cases rise
Governor Ned Lamont says a 4th person has died from COVID-19, and 35 more people tested positive, bringing the running total to 194. He also reported testing is up to 1,000 specimens a day. There are now 16 drive-through testing sites in the state.

MARCH 19, 2020

Positive cases increase statewide
Connecticut reports 35 new cases of residents who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the state total up to 194 confirmed cases. The death toll has increased to four. These cases include the first to be reported out of Tolland and Windham counties.

Presidential primary delayed until June
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday he has decided to move the state's April 28 presidential primary to June 2 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.


2nd death reported due to COVID-19
A 91-year-old New Canaan man who was hospitalized with the coronavirus has died, becoming Connecticut's second victim of the virus, a local official announced. New Canaan Councilman Steve Karl announced the death at a Town Council meeting Wednesday night, asking for a moment of silence as the meeting was about to adjourn. The man's death is the second in Connecticut from the coronavirus.

MARCH 18, 2020

First death from COVID-19
Governor Ned Lamont said the patient was a man in his 80s who was being treated at Danbury Hospital. He was a resident of an assisted living facility in Ridgefield.

"It is with sadness today that we are confirming the first death of a person in Connecticut due to severe complications from COVID-19," Lamont said. "I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals at the hospital who did everything in their power to save his life. I also want to acknowledge the dedicated professionals from hospitals and medical centers throughout our state who continue to work on the front lines and treat patients, in addition to all of the support staff who are providing critical assistance through this trying time."

Connecticut not yet cancelling spring sports season
The organization that oversees high school sports in Connecticut says it's not ready yet to pull the plug on the spring season due to the coronavirus. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says the decision to postpone, and not cancel, spring sports including baseball, softball and track was made Wednesday after a meeting of nearly 70 school, athletic and governmental leaders. All state schools have been ordered close through at least March 31. But CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini says there is a strong desire to give student athletes some type of athletic experience once those schools reopen.

NY, NJ, CT and PA announce additional coordination to stop spread of COVID-19
Indoor portions of shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania must close by 8 p.m. Thursday, the states' four governors said.
MARCH 17, 2020

Community health centers facing staffing, supply shortages
Connecticut officials are trying to speed up the certification of new nurses and urging retired nurses to come back to work to help handle the state's anticipated spike in patients afflicted with the coronavirus.

"We need you. And we're gonna to you over the next two, three, five, six weeks," Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday. "So please reach out to your former hospital where you were. We need you to be able to step back."

While the state now has close to 70 diagnosed cases, State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter warned many more are expected in the coming weeks.
200 health care workers in CT furloughed
About 200 employees of a health care system that includes seven hospitals in Connecticut and New York are staying home because they may have come into contact with the coronavirus, according to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Connecticut's two casinos to close for first time ever
On Monday evening, Gov. Ned Lamont and the two federally recognized tribes that own and operate Connecticut's two casinos announced an historic move to close the facilities at 8 p.m. on Tuesday for two weeks. It will mark the first time either casino has ever closed. Foxwoods first opened in 1992 and Mohegan Sun opened in 1996.

"This is a humbling reflection on the ongoing public health crisis and it is the right decision," said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation which own Foxwoods. Both casinos, which have already begun temporarily shuttering parts of their operations, are located on sovereign tribal reservations and Lamont doesn't have the power to order them closed.

Community health centers facing staffing, supply shortages
Community health centers, which provide care to thousands of low-income Connecticut residents, need greater resources to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the CEO of a Hartford-based center said Tuesday. Nichelle Mullins, president and CEO of Charter Oak Health Center, said her organization is facing staffing and supply shortages. "If we don't have (those things), we won't be able to operate," said Mullins.

She noted that workers at the 17 federally qualified health centers across Connecticut are on the "front lines" in their communities and can help divert patients from hospital emergency rooms. Mullins said Charter Oak Health Center has the ability to take specimens needed to test for the virus. The challenges faced by the community centers is one of a growing list of concerns facing health care workers.

MARCH 16, 2020

5 p.m.
An additional 15 Connecticut residents tested positive for the coronavirus were announced by Governor Ned Lamont Monday, bringing the total positive cases reported in the state to 41.

Schools closed, state work to mitigate damage
Schools in Connecticut are closed for at least two weeks as state officials prepare to deal with the impact of the new coronavirus on residents and businesses, as well as the state's overall economy.

MARCH 15, 2020

Connecticut legislators and Gov. Ned Lamont are considering additional ways to mitigate the impact of the new coronavirus on residents and businesses, as well as the state's overall economy. With the General Assembly on a temporary pause because of the outbreak - a delay that will eat up valuable time in an already short, three-month legislative session - there's interest in prioritizing a legislative response to the outbreak as well as passing major bills such as the state budget.

MARCH 14, 2020

Nine additional Connecticut residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus
A county-by-county breakdown of the positive cases includes 15 in Fairfield County, 3 in Litchfield County, 1 in Hartford County and 1 in New Haven County.

MARCH 13, 2020

Connecticut officials banned utilities Friday from shutting off services to customers and warned of heavy demand for absentee ballots in the state's upcoming presidential primary as hospitals braced for more patients with the coronavirus.

MARCH 12, 2020

Nursing home visits limited but not restricted
Lamont's executive order eases an earlier, unpopular restriction on visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Connecticut bars gatherings of over 250 people amid virus
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an order Thursday barring gatherings of 250 people or more to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while personally recommending people avoid even smaller crowds. The Democrat's order, which also waives the requirement that schools be in session for 180 days - giving districts flexibility with closures related to the virus - comes as additional people have tested positive in the state, including a child.

Residents urged to get the flu shot
At a news conference earlier in the day, Lamont urged state residents to get a flu shot to stay healthy and help to ease the burden on hospitals that are bracing for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. "We are worried about emergency rooms. They could be overrun," said Lamont, who spoke after touring Sanofi's Protein Sciences lab in Meriden that is conducting research for a possible vaccine for the virus.

Researchers hope to develop COVID-19 vaccine
Officials at Sanofi's Protein Sciences said Thursday their scientists in Meriden have been working for the past several weeks on a possible COVID-19 vaccine they hope may be ready for clinical trials by the end of the year.

Schools, universities continue to close
Central Connecticut State University announced Thursday that it would close its New Britain campus immediately because a student was potentially exposed to somebody being tested for the virus. Several universities, including the University of Connecticut, announced previously that they are switching to online-only classes. School districts, including New Haven, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Wilton, also have announced they are closing until further notice.

MARCH 11, 2020

More schools close
Officials announced New Canaan Public Schools, Wilton Public Schools and Weston Public Schools will all close starting Thursday.

Ivy League cancels all spring sports
The Ivy League announced on Wednesday that it is canceling all spring athletics practice and competition through the remainder of the academic year amid further developments in the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus.


The decision hits the lacrosse programs particularly hard, with four schools ranked in the Top 20 and three in the Top 5 (No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Princeton, No. 5 Yale, No. 16 Penn).

MARCH 10, 2020

ONLINE COLLEGE CLASSES
The University of New Haven closed its residence halls Tuesday and suspended in-person classes leading up to spring break, as well as in-person classes on March 23 and 24. At Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, in-person classes will switch to online instruction beginning Wednesday. Residence and dining halls will remain open.
Yale University is asking students on campus to return home no later than March 15. Classes will be held online when spring recess ends and through April 5 at the earliest.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports in Connecticut, cancelled the state's remaining high school winter sports championship tournaments. Glenn Lungarini, the executive director of the CIAC, said some schools said they would not participate and some venues indicated they could not host the events.
"We certainly understand and appreciate the emotion that sports brings and do take into account that there are seniors that were looking forward to that last game, looking forward to making that run to the championship and to them they certainly get hit with the news now that they they're not going to have the ability to do that," he said.

MARCH 9, 2020

2nd CASE CONFIRMED
On Monday afternoon, the Connecticut Department of Public Health State Laboratory identified a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 involving a second Connecticut resident. DPH issued a directive to all nursing and convalescent homes on Monday imposing restrictions on visitation to constrain the spread of COVID-19.

STUDENTS IN SELF-QUARANTINE
Seven students who attend Trinity College in Hartford are in self-quarantine for 14 days after possibly being exposed to coronavirus, school officials said.

STATE EMPLOYEES
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont issued an email on Monday morning to all state employees in Connecticut's executive branch agencies, informing them of the immediate freeze on state employee out-of-state travel. Any exceptions will have to be approved by agency heads and Lamont's chief operating officers.

STATE BUILDINGS
The state of Connecticut has informed private property management firms and cleaning contractors "to increase the use of disinfectants when cleaning state office buildings and to increase the frequency of disinfectant cleaning, especially focusing on common touch points." The same request has been made to those cleaning state college and university buildings.

SPRING BREAK WARNING
The president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the state's largest higher education system, sent an email Monday to students, faculty and staff strongly discouraging them from taking personal travel outside of Connecticut, particularly during spring break.
"If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days," the email read.

MARCH 8, 2020
The first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) involving a Connecticut resident was confirmed as positive by health officials Sunday. The patient, a resident of Wilton who is 40 to 50 years of age, is being treated at Danbury Hospital.

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MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE



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Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died
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