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COVID-19 UPDATE: 33 deaths in CT; CDC issues domestic travel advisory for CT, NY, NJ

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In response to President Donald Trump’s remarks Saturday that he was considering imposing an “enforceable” quarantine on New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said: “Our state has already called on residents to stay at home. Further, if interstate travel is absolutely necessary, our state has directed travelers to self-quarantine to prevent against further transmission of the virus.”

The governor said he hoped “we’ll have some clarity from the White House before the day is over,” opining that Trump’s comments were an example of his “thinking out loud.”

Lamont said such an order would be “impossible to enforce, given the spider web” of roads leading from New York into Connecticut.

The president later backed off the quarantine idea. However, Saturday night the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that stated:

“The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.  This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.  These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security  have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedule.  The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.”

U.S. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal later tweeted: “Erratic. Impulsive. Dangerous. 180 degree flip flop in less than 8 hours. Now no quarantine. Less talk, more action, Mr President. We still lack ventilators, masks, tests, & other medical supplies.”

Lamont announced at his afternoon  briefing that the state recorded six more deaths due to COVID-19 since yesterday – five of them in Fairfield County – bringing its total to 33.

There are now 1,524 confirmed cases in Connecticut.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 908 88 20
Hartford County 228 41 2
Litchfield County 65 12 0
Middlesex County 28 5 1
New Haven County 236 50 6
New London County 19 2 0
Tolland County 37 7 4
Windham County 3 0 0
Total 1,524 205 33

 

Earlier in the afternoon, Lamont issued a statement saying: “I look forward to speaking to the president directly about his comments and any further enforcement actions, because confusion leads to panic.”

“I could not agree more with Gov. Lamont — confusion leads to panic and puts people at risk,” Attorney General William Tong said in a statement released shortly after Lamont’s daily briefing ended. “Our leaders cannot think out loud at moments like this. They must speak with clarity and authority. Off-the-cuff comments by the president, made without necessary coordination with Governors on the front lines of this crisis, are not helpful.”

Lamont also signed yesterday  Executive Order No. 7P, which enacts the following provision:

Authorization to provide for noncongregant housing for persons at risk: This order gives the appropriate state officials authority to ensure safe housing for certain first responder and health  care workers who need alternative housing, provide for physical distancing in safe and adequate settings for people experiencing homelessness and meet FEMA requirements to reimburse state efforts in these areas.

The governor released a PSA video today asking health care professionals – including students and those who are retired – to consider helping Connecticut’s medical facilities in the COVID-19 effort by volunteering their services.Those interested in volunteering can register online at ctresponds.ct.gov and they will be matched with a health care facility that is in need.

In the meantime, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Tong and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull are urging Connecticut residents to be mindful of fraudulent emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media posts falsely claiming that Americans must respond to the 2020 Census in order to receive a stimulus check from the federal government. In some cases, scammers may urge users to visit a fake census website and sign up to receive a stimulus check from the U.S. government, along with other false claims.

Elsewhere, the latest edition of Navigator Research’s daily tracking poll found that public approval of Trump’s handling of the epidemic has dropped by 13 points in less than a week, marking the first time since the outbreak began that more Americans have disapproved than approved of Trump’s performance.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, there have been 119,748 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and 1,991 deaths. Globally there have been 659,367 confirmed cases and 30,475 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

Staff writer Bob Rozycki contributed to this report.

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