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CT’s first COVID-19 death announced

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Gov. Ned Lamont has announced the first death in Connecticut due to severe complications from COVID-19.

The 88-year-old man was being treated at Danbury Hospital, the governor said. “He had been a resident of an assisted living facility in Ridgefield. 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.

“We know that people of an advanced age and in certain conditions are among the most at risk of this disease,” Lamont continued. “However, I urge everyone in Connecticut – regardless of age or condition – to take an active role in doing their part to reduce the spread of this virus throughout our communities so we can protect one another.”

Meanwhile, Lamont, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf have announced that in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, indoor portions of large retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in the four states will close by 8 p.m. on March 19.

The move is an expansion of the orders that Lamont, Cuomo and Murphy issued Monday. That order – which Pennsylvania has also adopted – limits crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people. The governors also announced restaurants and bars would close for on-premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. The governors also temporarily closed movie theaters, gyms and casinos.

At Monday’s announcement, the three governors said they were in talks with Wolf to join their coalition, and that they were in discussions with leaders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well.

Lamont’s executive order on today’s announcement will provide further specifics on those closings, and is expected to be released later this evening.

“This is a fast-moving and quickly evolving public health emergency, and making these kinds of important decisions as a region makes more sense than a patchwork approach,” Lamont said. “We will combat this virus by working together and remaining consistent across our borders.”

“In the absence of national standards, we are doing everything we can as states to reduce density and contain the spread of the virus,” Cuomo said. “It is critical that we remain on the same page as our neighboring states, and so far we are the only region in the country partnering to create uniform, regional density reduction policies that prevent ‘state shopping.’

“We will continue working together to update our regulations and guidance as the situation evolves while keeping a consistent standard across the region,” Cuomo said.

“Given the population density of the Northeast,” Murphy said, “a coordinated response effort to encourage social distancing benefits all of our residents and strengthens our greater regional preparedness. By working together to identify and enact these measures, we can potentially slow the spread of coronavirus and save thousands of lives.”

“A regional approach to this threat is smart, and I am grateful for all of the work by my colleagues in neighboring states,” Wolf said. “Joining these leaders will help Pennsylvania mitigate the spread of COVID-19 with a coordinated approach.”

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