Coronavirus Updates: Connecticut death toll, cases still rising, but hospitalizations decline

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CONNECTICUT (WABC) — Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont says the death toll rose by 77 in the state on Friday, but the number of people in the hospital declined slightly.

There are 1,336 people still being treated in Connecticut hospitals, while the death toll stands at 2,874 with 32,411 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, Lamont says Connecticut is showing positive signs it can meet criteria set for the planned May 20 initial reopening date.

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MAY 8, 2020

Connecticut shows signs of meeting May 20 reopening criteria
Gov. Ned Lamont says Connecticut is showing positive signs it can meet criteria set for the planned May 20 initial reopening date. He noted how hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decline and the state is making progress toward building a 30-day stockpile of personal protective equipment for health care workers.

MAY 7, 2020

Connecticut shows signs of meeting May 20 reopening criteria
Gov. Ned Lamont says Connecticut is showing positive signs it can meet criteria set for the planned May 20 initial reopening date. He noted Thursday how hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decline and the state is making progress toward building a 30-day stockpile of personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Nurses honored
Gov. Ned Lamont honored nurses and other health care workers Thursday at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

The event coincided with National Nurses Week. Lamont gave a speech, and health care workers paused for a prayer.

UConn sued
The father of a University of Connecticut student alleges in a new lawsuit the school’s online learning programs put in place because of the coronavirus are inadequate and UConn should refund some tuition and fees.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Long Island, New York, seeks class action status to represent other UConn students who paid tuition and fees for this spring’s semester, The Hartford Courant reported.

Juvenile detention center workers call for more precautions
Workers at Connecticut’s juvenile detention centers are calling on state judicial officials to improve precautions against the coronavirus, after employees and youths tested positive for the virus. Union leaders say workers need N95 masks, and they’re urging judicial officials to work with them on plans to better protect workers and detained youth.

Judicial officials say numerous precautions are being taken at the two centers in Hartford and Bridgeport. They also say surgical masks are available for all staff and youths, and there is a worldwide shortage of N95 masks. The unions say 17 workers and eight juveniles at the centers have tested positive for the virus.

Connecticut Food Bank giving out 32 tons of food
A Connecticut food bank is giving away 32 tons of food Thursday to help needy residents combat the coronavirus pandemic. The drive-thru mobile pantry event is distributing 50,000 meals to Bridgeport residents in collaboration with the Connecticut Food Bank and community partners.

MAY 6, 2020

More than 2 dozen Connecticut statues outfitted with face masks
If they can do it, so can you. Historical figures, depicted in statues around the capital city in Connecticut, are now being outfitted with face masks.

Hartford’s master gardener came up with the idea to put masks on the statues to serve as a good reminder to residents to always wear a mask in public.

Voters with health conditions eligible for absentee ballots
Connecticut residents with heart conditions, diabetes and other health problems that could make them more susceptible to the coronavirus will be eligible to vote by absentee ballot, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced Wednesday.

Health care workers and first responders also qualify, she said.

Fraud task force
A joint federal and state task force has been formed in Connecticut to investigate fraud related to the coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.

The task force will focus on price gouging, fraud in health care and government programs, consumer and small business scams, lending scams, charity fraud and cyber fraud. Violators could face state or federal criminal prosecution or civil fines and penalties, or both.

Nonresident beach ban
East Lyme officials have voted to ban nonresidents from the town’s three beaches beginning Memorial Day weekend, in an effort to keep beaches open by limiting crowds and allowing for social distancing.

The town’s Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved the ban during a virtual meeting Monday, The Day newspaper reported.

Thank you for truckers
Truckers driving on the interstate in Connecticut got a big thank you for their continued work during the pandemic. A large American flag hanging above a hand-painted sign that reads “Thank you truckers” is hanging between exits 2 and 3 of the NB lanes of I-95.

Higher Education in the fall
The state laid out guidance for colleges and universities to reopen in the fall. Schools are also being advised to prepare for remote education. Each institution will need to develop reopening plans around repopulation of the campus, monitoring health conditions, containment if the virus is detected, and a shutdown if necessary.

MAY 5, 2020

Inmate death
A 74-year-old male has become the state’s sixth inmate to die from complications related to the novel coronavirus. The unnamed man, who was serving a 13-year-sentence for first-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13, was transferred from the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers to a local hospital for treatment on April 23. He died on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations, cases and deaths continue to rise
State officials reported 30,621 positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, up 648 from Monday. There were 77 additional fatalities, bringing the statewide death toll to 2,633. 1,500 people are being treated for the coronavirus in Connecticut hospitals.

Schools to remain closed
Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday he is canceling in-person classes at all Connecticut K-12 public schools for the rest of this school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, requiring districts to continue distance learning.

The Democrat said schools will also be required to continue providing to-go meals to children under the school lunch and breakfast programs. He was expected to sign a new executive order later in the day. Lamont said he is working with state and local education officials to determine whether summer school programs should be held. More details are expected later this month.

Voting plan praised, action by governor urged
An election reform advocacy group is praising Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s plan to make voting safer amid the pandemic, including providing absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters for the August primary and November general election.

Common Cause in Connecticut, however, said there’s “real urgency” for action to be taken by the governor or the General Assembly to allow all voters to vote by mail. Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause in Connecticut, said while Merrill’s plan is “an important first step,” an executive order, legislative approval or both are still needed.

MAY 4, 2020

Food aid groups try to outbid others; state seeks a solution
The Connecticut agriculture commissioner is considering buying food in bulk to provide to organizations that feed needy people, which have seen huge upticks in demand coupled with challenges in getting supplies, he said Monday.

Having the state or another entity do so on behalf of charitable food banks and pantries might help make more food available, said Commissioner Bryan Hulburt, whose agency was recently tasked with overseeing food insecurity issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safe voting
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill released a plan Monday aimed at making voting safe during the Aug. 11 primary and Nov. 3 general election.

Merrill said her office is requiring all cities and towns in the state to submit plans for the two elections that include a list of cleaning and safety products to be used, a list of polling locations, staffing levels at each polling location, and the names of polling workers and moderators. Municipalities will be eligible for grants to cover the extra costs of holding elections during a pandemic, including expenses for cleaning products and increased staffing.

Power plant workers
Workers at Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant worry that managers are not taking enough precautions against the coronavirus after 750 temporary employees were brought in to help refuel one of the two active reactors.

Ten employees at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford have tested positive for the virus, and the arrival of the temporary workers alarms some of the permanent employees, The Day newspaper reported Sunday.

MAY 3, 2020

Hospitalizations continue to fall
Connecticut reported a total of 1,488 patients hospitalized, which is down 63 from Saturday.

7 Northeast states join forces, forming a regional team to purchase PPE

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are launching a regional purchasing consortium to jointly procure PPE, tests, ventilators and other medical equipment. This will increase the market power and help prevent price-gouging, NY Gov. Cuomo said.

Connecticut farmers, markets change operations amid pandemic
Connecticut farmers are shifting how they get products to consumers, faced with new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Heading into one of their busiest times of year, farmers, growers and operators of open-air markets are grappling with new social distancing rules, fluctuations in demand and smaller crowds at markets.

MAY 2, 2020

Crowds force Connecticut officials to close state parks
Beautiful spring weather brought people out to Connecticut’s parks on Saturday, forcing state officials to close many that became too crowded under the state’s guidelines for social distancing.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had closed at least 11 parks because their parking areas were at capacity.

Officials had urged residents to seek out lesser-used parks to avoid crowding. Among the parks to reach capacity were Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown and Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury.

More deaths, increased testing
Connecticut has reported nearly 100 new deaths from COVID-19, pushing the state’s total to more than 2,400 Ninety-seven more people died in Connecticut from COVID-19 and the state’s total number of cases rose to more than 29,000, state officials reported Saturday.

More than 100,000 people have been tested in the state, a number that could increase soon. Last week, state Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter said there could be 50,000 tests conducted in Connecticut per week by the end of May, compared to about 4,000 tests being done per week now.

MAY 1, 2020

Lamont presses on with re-opening plan
Connecticut continues to move forward with its plan to start re-opening the state later this month, as long as hospitalizations and coronavirus infections remain on the decline. There has been no decision made yet on schools reopening, but Lamont said casinos should remain closed longer because of people who might drive into Connecticut to go to them.

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