Since yesterday’s update, an additional 15 Connecticut residents have tested positive, including 13 more in Fairfield County, one more in Hartford County, and one more in New Haven County. This brings the total number of positive cases reported in Connecticut (including presumptive positive) – from both the State Laboratory and private laboratories – to 41.
A county-by-county breakdown of the positive cases includes:
Fairfield County: 29
Hartford County: 4
Litchfield County: 4
New Haven County: 4
Gov. Ned Lamont signed another executive order, the fifth since he enacted the civic preparedness and public health emergency declarations. Some of the measures were announced earlier today during a phone conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Executive Order No. 7D enacts the following provisions:
- Further reduces large crowds: Effective immediately, the order amends a previous directive prohibiting large social and recreational gatherings of 250 or more and modifies that capacity to no more than 50 people. In addition, the order adds religious, spiritual, and worship gatherings to the list of activities for which this prohibition applies.
- Limits restaurants and bars to take-out and delivery services only: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on March 16, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and bars that serve food to temporarily move to take-out and delivery services only, and prohibits the sales of alcohol at these establishments.
- Closure of off-track betting facility operations: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on March 16, the order requires that any facility authorized to conduct off-track betting must cease on-site operations. While Governor Lamont enacted this clause in his executive order, he also acknowledges and thanks these businesses for their willingness to close voluntarily.
- Restriction on gyms, fitness studios, and movie theaters: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on March 16, the order directs the closure of any indoor gym, fitness center, or similar facility or studio offering fitness, sporting, or recreational opportunities or instructions, and all movie theaters.
All of the restrictions are enacted through April 30 unless otherwise amended by future order.
The Lamont administration remains in discussions with Connecticut’s tribal nations regarding the operations of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos and anticipates having a resolution soon.
Drive-through testing sites approved at several Connecticut hospitals
In order to help protect patients and support social distancing, alternate COVID-19 testing locations have been approved at several hospitals throughout Connecticut, and each of them are at varying stages of setting-up drive-through testing procedures. The hospitals approved for drive-through test sampling includes:
- Bridgeport Hospital
- Bristol Health
- Danbury Hospital
- Greenwich Hospital
- Stamford Health
- Waterbury Hospital
- Yale-New Haven Hospital
Anyone seeking to be tested must have a prescription from their doctor and make an appointment in advance.
Health care providers granted streamlined approval process to accelerate availability of COVID-19-related treatment and services
Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS) Executive Director Vicki Veltri today provided guidelines for a streamlined application, review, and approval process so health care providers can adjust treatment services for those afflicted with COVID-19.
In accordance with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7B, and for the duration of Connecticut’s current public health emergency, OHS may simply waive Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for certain transactions and applications. In addition, until further notice, should a public hearing be necessary, it’ll be held remotely, with hearing details provided to parties, intervenors and the public.
Health care providers seeking a temporary waiver of CON requirements meant to promote the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency should contact the OHS Health Systems Planning Unit at 860-418-7008.
State Department of Education working with school districts on temporary measures
With the likelihood that closures extend past two weeks, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) is working to provide school districts with additional guidance on distance learning, with a basic option to support their planning, and are working with partner districts and providers to develop more robust resources to promote equitable access around Connecticut. The agency is in discussions with the Regional Education Service Centers to have them act as repositories of distance learning best practices and other similar resources.
In addition, SDE has been working to ensure that students who receive meals through the school lunch and breakfast program continue to have access to nutritious food. A total of 89 school districts have been approved by the state to serve meals at more than 353 sites. Hartford, at its 8 sites, today served 400 lunches and handed out 400 breakfast kits for tomorrow. The agency reports that school districts have been very proactive communicating to families the plans for providing meals to students.
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
Separately, the governor announced that small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Connecticut that have been negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 outbreak are now eligible for disaster relief loans of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
On Sunday, the governor submitted a request to the federal agency for expedited approval of the disaster relief to immediately provide aid to businesses in Connecticut. Over the past several days, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has been working diligently to survey companies statewide to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the small business community and the local economy.
“Small businesses and nonprofits of all types are experiencing large, sudden drops in revenue while trying to do the right thing and give employees the flexibility they need to take care of themselves and their families,” Lamont said. “One of our priorities is to help them as much we can. SBA disaster relief loans are an important tool that can help Connecticut businesses.”
“The availability of SBA loans is another key piece of a broader set of relief measures the Lamont administration continues to put into place for individuals and our business community,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “Their ability to successfully navigate this health crisis is of vital importance to our economy in the short and long-term. The DECD team will remain proactive and continue to assess the impact of this pandemic and assist small businesses navigate this unprecedented economic climate.”
Small businesses can learn more about the program and apply for financial assistance at www.sba.gov/disaster or call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955.
Small businesses with questions about the SBA loan program or other assistance provided at the state-level can call 860-500-2333 to speak directly with a DECD representative. Businesses can also stay informed on news and guidance related to COVID-19 and its impact on Connecticut by visiting the state’s dedicated coronavirus website at ct.gov/coronavirus.