On Monday afternoon, Governor Lamont issued an update on COVID-19 saying that since Sunday, an additional 15 Connecticut residents had tested positive, bringing the total positive cases reported in the state to 41, of which 29 are in Fairfield County.
The update also said drive-through testing sites have been approved at several Connecticut hospitals, including Greenwich Hospital, to help protect patients and support social distancing. He said each of the hospitals are at varying stages of setting-up drive-through testing procedures.
Anyone seeking to be tested must have a prescription from their doctor and make an appointment in advance.
In addition to Greenwich Hospital, hospitals approved for drive-through test sampling includes Bridgeport Hospital, Bristol Health, Danbury Hospital, Stamford Health, Waterbury Hospital and Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Also, Governor Lamont on Monday signed his fifth executive order since he enacted the civic preparedness and public health emergency declarations last week. Executive Order 7D builds upon previous efforts to slow down transmission of the virus.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7D enacts the following provisions:
- Further reduces large crowds: Effective immediately, the order amends a previous directive prohibiting large social and recreational gatherings of 250 or more and modifies that capacity to no more than 50 people. In addition, the order adds religious, spiritual, and worship gatherings to the list of activities for which this prohibition applies.
- Limits restaurants and bars to take-out and delivery services only: Effective at 8:00pm on March 16, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and bars that serve food to temporarily move to take-out and delivery services only, and prohibits the sales of alcohol at these establishments.
- Closure of off-track betting facility operations: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on March 16, the order requires that any facility authorized to conduct off-track betting must cease on-site operations. While Governor Lamont enacted this clause in his executive order, he also acknowledges and thanks these businesses for their willingness to close voluntarily.
- Restriction on gyms, fitness studios, and movie theaters: Effective at 8:00 p.m. on March 16, the order directs the closure of any indoor gym, fitness center, or similar facility or studio offering fitness, sporting, or recreational opportunities or instructions, and all movie theaters.
All of the restrictions are enacted through April 30 unless otherwise amended by future order.
The release says the Lamont administration remains in discussions with Connecticut’s tribal nations regarding the operations of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos and anticipates having a resolution soon.
The update, issued at 5:00pm, says that healthcare providers have been granted a streamlined approval process to accelerate availability of COVID-19-related treatment and services.
Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Vicki Veltri provided guidelines for a streamlined application, review, and approval process so healthcare providers can adjust treatment services for those afflicted with COVID-19.
In accordance with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7B, and for the duration of Connecticut’s current public health emergency, the Office of Health Strategy may simply waive Certificate of Need requirements for certain transactions and applications. And, until further notice, should a public hearing be necessary, it will be held remotely, with hearing details provided to parties, intervenors and the public.
Healthcare providers seeking a temporary waiver of Certificate of Need requirements meant to promote the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency should contact the Office of Health Strategy Health Systems Planning Unit at 860-418-7008.
State Department of Education working with school districts on temporary measures
With the likelihood that closures extend past two weeks, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) is working to provide school districts with additional guidance on distance learning, with a basic option to support their planning, and are working with partner districts and providers to develop more robust resources to promote equitable access around Connecticut. The agency is in discussions with the Regional Education Service Centers to have them act as repositories of distance learning best practices and other similar resources.
In addition, SDE has been working to ensure that students who receive meals through the school lunch and breakfast program continue to have access to nutritious food. A total of 89 school districts have been approved by the state to serve meals at more than 353 sites. Hartford, at its 8 sites, today served 400 lunches and handed out 400 breakfast kits for tomorrow. The agency reports that school districts have been very proactive communicating to families the plans for providing meals to students.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, all residents in the state are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The information line is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access for those with a hearing impairment. The hotline only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.