Rep. Fishbein's Connecticut Coronavirus Update - 3/24/2020
Friends and Neighbors,
Once again urging anyone who can stay home to do so, Governor Lamont this evening announced another Executive Order – Executive Order 7L – to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Executive Order 7L officially extends school closures until at least April 20, immediately opens the fishing season, suspends restrictions on rehiring municipal employees, provides flexibility regarding state medical marijuana employment and access, extends time limits for nursing home transfers, and modifies the duties of registrars of vital records and limits in-person requirements for vital records to mail and online requests. His order also modifies rules regarding marriage licenses being issued from the same town where the ceremony will take place.
Executive Order 7L:
- Extends the cancellation of classes at public schools statewide through at least April 20: To promote and secure the safety and protection of children in schools related to the risks of COVID-19, the order extends the cancelation of classes at all public schools statewide through April 20, 2020. The governor notes that this date could possibly be extended further. Private schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
- Orders the early opening of the fishing season, effective immediately
- Suspends restrictions on the re-employment of retired municipal employees: To enable municipalities to meet critical staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training, the order modifies state statutes to allow certain retired employees who are in the municipal retirement system to work without any hourly or durational limitation while also continuing to receive retirement allowances.
- Exacts flexibility to maintain adequate medical marijuana access for patients: The order modifies the state’s medical marijuana program to improve patient access and address staffing shortages in facilities. This includes permitting patients to be certified via telehealth; extending expiration dates for patient and caregiver registrations; allowing dispensary facility staff to move work locations among facilities and, with approval of the state, make adjustments to staffing ratios; and waiving the fee normally charged if someone loses or misplaces their registration certificate.
- Extends the time period for nursing home transfers: The order extends the time allowed for an applicant to transfer from a nursing home where they were temporarily placed after their nursing home closed from sixty days after their arrival at the new facility to “not later than one year following the date that such applicant was transferred from the nursing home where he or she previously resided.”
- Enacts flexibility in availability and registration of vital records: The order authorizes the Commissioner of Public Health to conduct birth, death and marriage registration, in order to assist local registrars of vital statistics in carrying out their duties as may be required, and to issue any implementing orders she deems necessary.
- Suspends in-person purchase of copies of vital records at the Department of Public Health: The order suspends the requirement that the purchase of vital records at the Department of Public Health be available in person, and limits those requests to online or mail.
- Modifies the requirement that marriage licenses be obtained in the town where the marriage will be celebrated: As municipal offices around the state are closed or have selective hours due to the COVID-19 crisis, the order permits those seeking a marriage license to obtain it in a different municipality than where it will be celebrated.
Mobile field hospital launches at Saint Francis Hospital
The governor’s release also noted: In coordination with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), a mobile field hospital was deployed today on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford with the assistance of the Governor’s Foot and Horse Guard.
The Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Field Hospital is a state-of-the-art mobile field hospital designed to support the state’s health care system in response to significant emergencies. It is deployable as a flexible configuration of 25-bed units that operate jointly or independently to provide triage and treatment anywhere in the state in the event of a mass casualty. It can also support an acute care hospital after a catastrophic structural or mechanical failure. The hospital assembles in hours and can be ready to triage and treat hundreds of patients during any public health emergency. It was named in 2006 in honor of a Connecticut woman who died from inhalational anthrax in 2001.
Schools Possibly Closed for Rest of Academic Year
During both a radio interview earlier this morning and his afternoon update with the Connecticut media, the governor said public school closures might extend through the rest of the school year and that students might not return until the fall.
“You worry if people get back too quickly, there will be a second iteration of this virus. So April 20 is the minimum, it’s probably the school year,” Governor Lamont said.
In tonight’s Executive Order, Lamont officially extended the current closure of public schools to continue until at least April 20.
DOL Unemployment Information
The Department of Labor (DOL) released an updated FAQ document for people who need to file unemployment claims due to the Coronavirus.
That document can be found here: http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF
Philanthropic Donations for Connecticut Students
Building upon yesterday’s announcement by the nonprofit Partnership for Connecticut to donate up to 60,000 laptops to students from some of the state’s most under-resources high schools, the governor announced today that Indra and Raj Nooyi plan to make a donation of high-quality, take-home books from Scholastic that will provide reading and writing instruction to more than 185,000 prekindergarten to 8th grade students while learning from home.
Students in prekindergarten through the third grade will receive four books per student plus a family resource guide. Students from fourth through eighth grades will receive three books per student and a family resource guide. The books are aligned with Connecticut State learning standards, and parents are encouraged to work with students at home to complete these exercises. Students will be able to keep the books indefinitely.
More information can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/03-2020/Governor-Lamont-Announces-Second-Philanthropic-Donation-to-Help-Districts-With-Remote-Learning
Request for Personal Protective Equipment
Earlier today, Governor Lamont made a request for businesses and regular citizens who have supplies to consider donating medical equipment, including masks, goggles and gloves, to help meet the desperate need.
At the direction of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the State of Connecticut has activated a framework for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection that are utilized by people providing healthcare services.
Members of the public, businesses, and philanthropic organizations that are able to donate these vital materials are urged to contact the state by filling out the online form located at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.
The governor’s full press release can be read here: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/03-2020/Governor-Lamont-Coronavirus-Update-March-24
Officials also announced the second death recorded in Ridgefield was a resident of the same nursing home as the first death reported in the state. The facility is currently reporting 16 cases of infection, stressing that those residents are not showing signs of the illness and are being closely monitored. Workers are taking extra precautions to protect residents and themselves and have cancelled group activities, they said.
As of 4:00 p.m. tonight – Tuesday, March 24th – the state has diagnosed a total of 618 cases of Coronavirus. Updated virus totals can be accessed here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus
Governor Lamont also said the state death toll related to Coronavirus has risen to 12.
Latest COVID-19 Testing Data in Connecticut
Updated 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Total patients who tested positive: 618
Fairfield County: 384
Hartford County: 88
Litchfield County: 22
Middlesex County: 8
New Haven County: 89
New London County: 6
Tolland County: 19
Windham County: 2