Rep. Fishbein's Connecticut Coronavirus Update - 3/25/2020
Governor Lamont this evening announced another Executive Order – Executive Order 7M – to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Executive Order 7M authorizes the DOT Commissioner to toll deadlines with regard to permit applications, suspends mandatory statutory filing requirements for Freedom of Information Appeals and allows for extensions to the FOI Commission’s requirement to hold hearings within one year of the date of a filed appeal, and allows state government agencies to statutory or regulatory deadlines by 90 days.
Executive Order 7M:
1. Tolling of Time Periods for Department of Transportation (DOT) Final Determinations on Permits. Notwithstanding any provision of the Connecticut General Statutes or any associated regulation, I hereby modify Section 13b-31 f(l) of the Connecticut General Statutes to authorize the Commissioner of Transportation to toll any deadlines for review and final determination on any of the permit applications in such section, and issue any implementing orders he deems necessary, provided such tolling period shall cease on the date of termination of the public health and civil preparedness emergency declared on March 10, 2020.
2. Suspension of Mandatory Statutory Filing Requirements for Freedom of Information Act Appeals and Decisions by the Freedom of Information Commission. Notwithstanding the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. l-206(b)(l), I hereby suspend, for the duration of this public health and civil preparedness emergency: (1) the time requirements for filing [a complaint] with the Freedom of Information Commission, which shall be applicable to any [complaint] filed on or after the issuance date of this order; and (2) the requirement that the Freedom of Information Commission must hear and decide [a complaint] within one year after the filing of such [complaint], which shall be applicable to any [complaint] pending before such Commission and any [complaint] filed on or after the issuance date of this order.
3. Authority to Extend Statutory and Regulatory Administrative Deadlines by 90 Days. Notwithstanding any provision of the Connecticut General Statutes, any regulation, or other provision of law, I hereby authorize each department head, commissioner, agency head, and board and commission of this State to extend, as they deem reasonably necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic or its effects, any statutory or regulatory time requirements, decision-making requirements, hearings, or other time limitations or deadlines, procedure or legal process pe1iaining to matters under their respective jurisdiction, functions or powers for a period not to exceed 90 days. Department heads, commissioners, agency heads, and board and commission of this State may issue any orders necessary to implement and effectuate the purposes of this order and shall publicly post and maintain such orders on their respective websites.
Governor Announces Connecticut Recovery Bridge Program
During his afternoon press availability, Governor Lamont and DECD Commissioner David Lehman announced a forgivable loan program to help small businesses (up to 100 employees) called the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Program. It will provide 0% interest loans with an 18-month term and will be sized at 3 months of each qualified company’s operating expenses. Loans will be capped at $75,000 per company, with $25 million in total being loaned out. Sole practitioners and nonprofits are eligible. Commissioner Lehman promised a streamlined online application process with a goal of getting businesses this critical financial assistance as quickly as possible, and said the state will begin accepting loans Thursday. Information and the online application process are expected to be updated later tonight or tomorrow. I’ll share information with you as I receive it.
Mobile field hospital launching at Danbury Hospital
In coordination with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), the Governor’s Foot and Horse Guard Units today are deploying a mobile field hospital on the grounds of Danbury Hospital that is anticipated to be up and running by Thursday. It is identical to the mobile field hospital that was deployed yesterday on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. A third mobile field hospital is anticipated to be deployed on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital in Middletown in the coming days.
The Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Field Hospital, under the authority of DPH, 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 in several parts as a flexible configuration with 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.
Office of Health Strategy further streamlines approval and licensure process for the state’s hospitals
On the heels of Governor Lamont’s call for hospitals statewide to expand their bed capacity, and in anticipation of an increasing number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, the Connecticut Office of Healthcare Strategy (OHS) today issued an order further streamlining the approval and licensure process for the state’s hospitals. Effective immediately, hospitals in Connecticut are required to simply complete a notification form, rather than apply for a Certificate of Need waiver.
The intent is to accelerate implementation of emergency planning to address the COVID-19 crisis, provide necessary facilities to meet urgent demand, and still provide OHS a mechanism to track changes.
To read the OHS order issued today, click here.
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-25
As of 4:00 p.m. tonight – Wednesday, March 25th – the state has diagnosed a total of 875 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 19.
Latest COVID-19 Testing Data in Connecticut
Updated 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Total patients who tested positive: 875
Fairfield County: 546
Hartford County: 116
Litchfield County: 33
Middlesex County: 15
New Haven County: 127
New London County: 9
Tolland County: 27
Windham County: 2