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Fairfield County recorded another 10 deaths since yesterday, bringing its total to 96. The county has 3,050 confirmed coronavirus cases, and has recorded 189 deaths.
Gov. Ned Lamont said the state's lack of ventilators remains a matter of growing concern, as Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said yesterday that Connecticut could be one of the nation’s next hot spots. “Southern Connecticut is (already) one of those hot spots, and has been for some time,” the governor said.
Gov. Ned Lamont announced an agreement with some 65 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re constantly discussing options for our customers in the face of hardship,” says Patriot Bank President Richard Muskus Jr. “We will do what we can as an organization to help them – the bank is not going to abandon them.”
While President Donald Trump's signing late this afternoon of the $2 trillion COVID-19 aid package should address the PPE shortage, Lamont said it would probably be three-plus weeks before that money arrives to the state.
The Department of Economic and Community Development announced that, having received over 4,000 applications, it will stop accepting them as of 6 p.m. today -- but that it will return with double the funding, at $50 million. But that action will be temporary, according to DECD Commissioner David Lehman.
“We believe this program provides the quick, short-term financial assistance (small businesses and nonprofits) need to maintain operations and weather this storm," said Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman.
Targeted at companies with up to 100 employees, as well as nonprofits and sole practitioners, the loans will come with 18-month terms at 0% interest, and capped at $75,000.
As for personal protective equipment (PPE), the governor said that while the wait continues for federal supplies to arrive, "We're not gonna sit around and wait for the cavalry to come in." Lamont said the state is "vetting lots of different options, offers" for PPE, "some of which seem a little shady, frankly."
Dr. Matthew Cartter, the state epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health, estimated that the number of deaths will be "much greater" than the approximately 300-600 recorded each flu season.
“I know this pandemic has brought disruption to all of our lives," Gov. Ned Lamont said, "but we need to pull together as a community and practice social distancing in order to reduce the spread of this virus and protect the well-being of our neighbors and our loved ones.” Lamont said.
“Restaurants are not buying a lot of kegs these days,” one craft brewer noted wryly.
“We’re in much better condition than many of our peer states,” Gov. Ned Lamont said, referring to Connecticut’s $200 million surplus and the $2.5 billion in its rainy day fund. “That can be depleted very quickly depending on the scale of the crisis and what the fed does, but we’re in a relatively good position.”
The $1 trillion spending proposal from the White House would include $500 billion in direct payments to Americans. Indications are that that bill will be introduced early next week.
Gov. Ned Lamont Lamont took a swing at the federal government’s response to the crisis, saying that “significant cash payments” and two weeks’ paid sick leave for affected workers must be made available. “If the federal government doesn’t get that right, Connecticut will get that right,” he declared.