The state of Connecticut has now conducted over 200,000 COVID-19 tests, with nearly 40,000 positive results and 3,637 deaths.
Skipping his daily update on the eve of the holiday weekend, Gov. Ned Lamont released a statement with the latest data, as well as announcements that children enrolled in school meals program will soon receive additional, emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and the receipt by the state Department of Labor (DOL) of a $2.33 million federal grant to create temporary disaster relief jobs.
|Overall Summary||Statewide Total||Change Since Yesterday|
|Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases||39,640||+432|
|Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19||740||-76|
|COVID-19 Test Reported||202,328||+5,881|
|County||Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases||Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations||Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19-Associated Deaths|
|New Haven County||10,756||272||888|
|New London County||910||21||72|
|Pending address validation||188||0||2|
Bridgeport has overtaken Stamford for the most positive COVID-19 cases in the state, with 3,099. Stamford has 3,066, followed by New Haven (2,303), Hartford (2,073), Norwalk (1,942), Waterbury (1,798), Danbury (1,660), West Haven (989), Hamden (900), New Britain (871), Greenwich (767), and Stratford (743).
Because of the cancellation of in-person, pre-K to grade 12 classes at all schools in the state for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, the families of approximately 265,631 public school students and 1,748 private school students who participate in the free or reduced-price meals program will soon receive additional, emergency SNAP benefits under the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals while learning from home during the pandemic.
Initially, when schools were slated to reopen on May 20, the state received federal approval to provide $71.3 million in EBT benefits. That amount increased to $97.5 million when the decision was made to cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the academic year. The emergency SNAP funding for children who participate in the free or reduced-price meals program was authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) estimates that it will issue approximately $34.5 million in additional food benefits to about 70,000 SNAP-eligible households and $63 million in food benefits to about 80,800 households not currently enrolled in SNAP. DSS is partnering with the Connecticut State Department of Education on the plan, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.
- Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits will be deposited in the EBT accounts of about 70,000 households enrolled in SNAP on or about May 24. An additional 800 households enrolled in the Temporary Family Assistance Program, but not currently enrolled in SNAP, will also receive Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits in their EBT accounts at that time.
- DSS will mail EBT debit cards to about 80,000 households not enrolled in SNAP and will deposit Pandemic EBT SNAP benefits into their new EBT accounts on June 7 for Medicaid-enrolled households, and on June 21, for all other households. Those households do not currently have EBT cards because they are not enrolled in SNAP or cash assistance.
Benefits can be used at any location that accepts SNAP/EBT cards, including farmers markets and direct market farms. Pandemic EBT participants will also have online access to eligible food purchases through delivery or curbside pickup when it is implemented in the overall SNAP program.
Families do not need to apply for Pandemic EBT benefits, as children are automatically eligible because in-person classes are not in session. The planned one-time benefit is $364.80 per child enrolled in the free and reduced-price meals program.
CT farmers eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funding
Lamont, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2nd), and state Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt are encouraging farmers and producers who have been impacted by COVID-19 to sign up and receive financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which was authorized by Congress through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The program, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief nationwide, is available for producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5 percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs.
Eligible commodities include: nonspecialty crops, wool, livestock, dairy, and specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and mushrooms). USDA will consider additional crops to be eligible for the program by collecting information on potentially eligible crops, including aquaculture, nursery and cut flowers.
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications beginning May 26. While offices are open by phone appointment only, the department will be working with agricultural producers by phone and using email and online tools to process applications. For additional program details, including eligibility, applications, a payment calculator, and a list of locations of the nearest FSA offices, visit www.farmers.gov/cfap.
DOL’s $2.33 million federal grant
The state DOL’s $2.33 million federal grant is designed to create temporary disaster relief jobs for dislocated workers and other eligible individuals, along with employment training services and any necessary supports. The Disaster Recovery National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant was awarded to assist the state as it continues to respond to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.
State Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said that the grant will be used to address critical needs resulting from the public health emergency that has impacted every part of the state, including the unprecedented surge in unemployed individuals, the public health crisis straining health care infrastructure, and the increased demand for workers in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance jobs.
The agency expects the disaster relief jobs to fall into three job categories: cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting public facilities; delivering medicine food, or other supplies to quarantined individuals and vulnerable populations; and health care support jobs to assist with sick and vulnerable individuals.
The DOL will partner with the state’s five regional workforce development boards and their employer partners to implement the programs. The five boards are Capital Workforce Partners, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, The WorkPlace and Workforce Alliance.
As of this writing, there are over 1.6 million positive cases and more than 95,500 virus-related deaths in the U.S., with more than 311,000 recovered. Globally, there are about 5.2 million positive cases and over 336,000 deaths, with just under 2 million recovered.