With roughly straight seven days of declining hospitalizations across Connecticut – the federal government recommends 14 consecutive days before easing restrictions – Gov. Ned Lamont said that announcements about reopening some businesses could be made within the next week to 10 days.
Those decisions would be made in accordance with the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Board, which is expected to present its suggestions to the governor by May 20.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health did not yet have testing data available, but Lamont said he was pleased that the net number of hospitalizations were again down, decreasing by eight to 1,758. Deaths rose by 74 to 1,998.
The governor noted that hospitalizations continue to fall in Fairfield County and have essentially flattened in New Haven and Hartford counties.
Hospital admissions are also showing improvement, Lamont said with yesterday’s 162 new admissions representing a roughly 25% reduction from Saturday’s figure.
Lamont used much of today’s briefing to tout what his administration is doing to address food insecurity. State Agricultural Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt and Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford are working together to address potential food shortages; food insecurity has become a problem for many families for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gifford noted.
Roughly 350,000 individuals were receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program before the pandemic, she added. Going forward, it will be easier to get and keep SNAP benefits, she said, with renewals being automatically extended by six months.
The Electronic Benefit Transfer cards used by SNAP beneficiaries received another $30 million in April and will receive another $15 million in May, Gifford said. New online accessibility will soon be rolled out to allow EBT cardholders to order food for delivery or pick-up.
Gifford said talks are ongoing with FEMA on how to supply food to those who need to remain at home, such as the elderly and the quarantined.
TRUMP CANCELS, RESCHEDULES BRIEFING
In the face of rising criticism of his performances at his daily COVID-19 press briefings – which arguably reached an apex with Friday’s suggestion that the American people try injecting disinfectant to combat the virus – President Donald Trump will apparently take a different approach in the future.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News today that the daily briefings “may have a different look” this week.
As a result, she said, there would be no scheduled briefing today; there were none over the weekend either. Later in the day it was announced that Trump would, in fact, hold a briefing today.
According to some reports over the weekend, Trump’s appearances will begin to focus more on the economy and less on his dispensing of health care advice, in preparation for the fall election.
As of this writing, there are more than 980,000 positive cases and about 55,600 virus-related deaths in the U.S., with over 110,000 recovered. Globally, there are over 3 million positive cases and nearly 210,000 deaths, with more than 879,000 recovered.