In an effort to assist with the shortage of personal protective equipment, the Connecticut Department of Correction is mass producing a cotton fabric face mask intended for use in situations where N95 respirators or surgical masks are not available, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.
The department’s Correctional Enterprises of Connecticut Unit has the ability to convert five of its manufacturing shops for production of the masks. It estimates that initially a combined total of 1,200 to 1,400 masks could be produced daily. Since Monday, the unit has produced more than 3,300 masks. It is likely that daily production will increase as the production process is streamlined, Lamont said.
The governor also said that residents, businesses and other organizations around Connecticut continue responding to a request he issued last week for donations of personal protective equipment. Some of the recent donations include:
- Mercy Free Dental Clinic: Nitrile gloves, earloop masks, disinfectant wipes, Clorox bleach germicidal wipes, Clorox hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, lab coats and isolation and patient gowns.
- Bethel Public Schools: Nitrile gloves, earloop masks, disinfectant wipes, N95 masks, oral thermometers, oral thermometer covers, Braun Tremoscan PC200s.
- Glastonbury Public Schools: N95 masks, children’s surgical earloop masks, adult surgical earloop masks, vinyl powder free exam gloves
Those with personal protective equipment that they would like to donate to the state’s supply for distribution in medical facilities should fill out the form on the state’s coronavirus website.
In addition, Lamont signed Executive Order No. 7N, which enacts the following provisions:
- Restricts all social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people: The order modifies the governor’s earlier executive order placing limits on the amount of people who can participate in social and recreational gatherings and reduces that number to no more than five people, through at least April 30 unless otherwise modified. The order includes, but is not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerns; festivals; plays or live performances; conventions and similar activities; except that religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings will remain subject only to the prohibition of 50 persons or more. It does not apply to government operations, private workplaces, retail establishments, or other activities that are not social or recreational gatherings.
- Restricts restaurant payment and pickup operations: Where reasonably practicable, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and any bars that remain open for sales of food for off-premise consumption to limit entrance of customers or third party delivery personnel into their locations to the minimum extent necessary to pick up and/or pay for orders, use touchless payment systems, and require remote ordering and payment. The order does not require businesses to acquire or use ordering or payment technology that they do not already have, doesn’t prohibit drive-through ordering and pickup, and doesn’t prohibit in-person payment or cash payment where this is no reasonable alternative. Previously issued guidance for hospital and business cafeterias remains in effect.
- Further restricts retail operations: The order requires all retail establishments that have been allowed to remain open and permit customers inside to take appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure customers maintain 6 feet of distance between each other and to manage any resulting lines to maintain such distance while people are waiting to enter. It also requires these establishments, where reasonably practical, to employ touchless payment technology if they already have such technology available and the customer has such technology available.
- Requires firearm transactions to be conducted by appointment only: The order requires all retail businesses that sell firearms, ammunition, and other similar components or supplies to conduct all transactions by appointment only in order to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible, effective immediately. Appointments must be limited in order to allow a six-foot distance between any customers and staff in a store, and only customers conducting such transactions will be allowed in the store.
- Suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags: The order temporarily suspends certain state statutes in order to suspend any tax on single-use plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses.
- Prohibits employers from requiring employees to place items in customers’ reusable bags: The order prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.
- Suspends 21-month limit on Temporary Family Assistance: The order modifies certain statutes and regulations to exclude from the 21-month time limit on receipt of Temporary Family Assistance all months of such assistance received during the public health and civil preparedness emergency. Suspending the time limit for this program will help families get the time and resources they need to get back on their path to self-sufficiency after the emergency is over.
- Suspends school testing assessments for the 2019-2020 school year: Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major disruption on schools, the order waives all annual student assessment test requirements for the current school year.
Connecticut National Guard deploys tents to expand capacity at the West Haven V.A. Medical Center
The Connecticut National Guard has deployed two climate-controlled tents on the grounds of the West Haven V.A. Medical Center for use in dealing with potential future patient overflow. The Guard is in the process of delivering two similar tents to the Newington V.A. Medical Center.
Those tents are in addition to the deployment of Connecticut Department of Public Health mobile field hospitals that were set up this week on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and Danbury Hospital. A third mobile field hospital is being prepared for deployment at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown.
Connecticut Insurance Department calls on auto and motorcycle insurers to extend coverage for personal delivery drivers
Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais is calling on insurers to immediately institute an extension of coverage for personal delivery drivers in light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its latest bulletin, the department is requesting that all insurance companies that offer auto and motorcycle liability insurance coverage in Connecticut immediately expand coverage for the personal use of vehicles for certain commercial purposes. The measure is intended to ensure delivery workers have adequate protection while using their personal car or motorcycle to deliver food and medicine.