State UPDATE: April 10-12: Rent Protection, Case Numbers & Extended Closures

Gov. Ned Lamont issued his daily updates on the State’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis. For April 10-12, here are the highlights:

By the Numbers (April 10-12)
  • New one-day positive cases in CT residents (each day):
    • April 10:  754
    • April 11:  972
    • April 12:  525
  • CT case totals cumulatively by date:   (includes 41,220 plus tests conducted in state and private labs)
    • April 10: 10,538
    • April 11:  11,510
    • April 12:  12,035
  • Total People hospitalized cumulatively by date (approximately):
    • April 10:  1,562 (685 in Fairfield County)
    • April 11:  1,593 (676 in Fairfield County)
    • April 12:  1,654 (688 in Fairfield County)
  • Total Fairfield County cases cumulatively by date:
    • April 10:  5,180
    • April 11:  5,407
    • April 12:  5,534
  • Total CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19, cumulatively by date:
    • April 10:  448 (203 in Fairfield County)*
    • April 11:  494 (220 in Fairfield County)*
    • April 12:  554 (248 in Fairfield County)

*The day-to-day changes reflect newly reported cases, deaths, and tests that occurred over the last several days to a week. Visit the state’s coronavirus webpage for several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups.

April 10

Renters’ Protections:  Lamont signed an executive order enacting a series of protections for residential renters struggling to pay their housing costs during the COVID-19 emergency, ensuring that they will not be evicted during this national crisis and that they will receive grace periods over the next several months.

The order includes a provision taking the following actions to protect residential renters during the public health crisis:

  • All landlords are prohibited from issuing a notice to quit or beginning eviction proceedings before July 1, 2020, except for serious nuisances, such as physically harming another tenant or the landlord.
  • For rent due in April 2020, landlords must grant tenants an automatic, 60-day grace period for payment, instead of the existing 9-day grace period.
  • For rent due in May 2020, landlords must grant a 60-day grace period for payment upon the request of tenants. Under this provision, a tenant must notify the landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significant increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If a tenant has a paid security deposit of more than one month’s rent, the tenant can apply all or part of that excess to April, May, or June rent. Under this provision, the tenant must notify the landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significant increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this crisis, these protections will allow residents to stay safe at home while prohibiting landlords from charging late fees or interest for nonpayment and provide a buffer for the next couple of months,” Lamont said. “Residential renters need to have added safeguards during times of emergency like this–they have rights and we will see to it that they are protected.”

Last week, Governor Lamont announced that his administration reached an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in Executive Order No. 7S, provided temporary relief regarding upcoming municipal tax payments. Homeowners should contact their lenders to discuss accessing mortgage forbearance.

Extends Closures for Schools, Restaurants, Bars, Retail Stores, Gyms and more:  Lamont ordered an extension of all previously enacted closures, distancing, and safety measures–including for schools, restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, and other establishments–through at least May 20, 2020. In addition, his order permits food trucks to operate at certain highway rest areas and also modifies educator certification testing.

  • Extension of closures, distancing, and safety measures through May 20, 2020: This includes previously enacted limits on restaurant, bar, and private club operations; closure of on-site operations at off-track betting facilities; closure of operations at gyms, sports, fitness, and recreation facilities and movie theaters; closure of large shopping malls; closure of places of public amusement; safety and distancing measures for workplaces and non-essential businesses, prohibition on social and recreational gatherings of more than five people; and restrictions on retail operations.
  • Modification or deferral of educator certification testing: Modifies state statutes to authorize the commissioner of Department of Education to temporarily defer any requirements regarding certification testing for educators as he deems necessary to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Permission to operate food trucks at rest areas: Lifts restrictions on commercial activity in Connecticut highway rest areas and permits food trucks to set up in these locations with the goal of feeding hungry truckers and other essential workers during the pandemic. This applies at the rest areas located in Danbury on I-84; Wallingford and Middletown on I-91; and North Stonington on I-95. Food truck operators interested in participating must obtain a permit from the CTDOT, which requires a valid license issued by a local health department or health district to serve food in Connecticut.

Governor Lamont reiterated his directive that everyone should “Stay Safe, Stay Home” and restrict themselves to essential travel only. Truck drivers, he said, have no choice but to be out on the road making critical deliveries and pick-ups.

“These truck drivers are keeping Connecticut moving and are providing critical necessities to our state during this national crisis,” Governor Lamont said. “We need to make it as easy as possible to keep them fed around the clock.”

April 11

Lamont signs executive order establishing COVID-19 recovery centers for nursing home residents:  Lamont signed an executive order implementing the medical surge plan for long-term care facilities he announced on Wednesday, which will establish COVID-19 recovery centers in certain nursing homes throughout the state that will accept patients who can be discharged from acute care hospitals but are still impacted by COVID-19 infection.

The order establishes the first two COVID-19 recovery centers at Sharon Health Care Center in Sharon and Northbridge Healthcare Center in Bridgeport, and gives authority to Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell to create additional centers at other locations throughout the state as needed.

Coleman-Mitchell said that she intends to authorize the formation of an additional recovery center at Torrington Health and Rehabilitation Center in Torrington, and is in the process of finalizing details for more recovery centers in other locations to be announced in the coming days.

“People who live in nursing homes are among the most vulnerable, and this plan is needed in order to protect those who are negative for the virus while providing adequate areas of recovery for those who have tested positive and can be discharged from hospitals,” said Lamont. “We are grateful for the nursing homes that are partnering with us in this critical effort–their staff is providing an invaluable service to the people of our state and we cannot thank them enough.”

FAQs for Long-Term Care Facilities Plan

  • The CT Department of Social Services and the Office of Policy and Management have determined a specific payment rate of $600 per day for the COVID-19 recovery centers, and additional payments of 10% across the board for all nursing homes in Connecticut during the course of the pandemic.

“This plan will assist our long-term care facilities and dedicated staff in their continuing efforts to protect residents and themselves from the spread of COVID-19,” Social Services Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said. “By establishing facilities with a special focus on the care of individuals with COVID-19 and providing necessary funding, we will support the state’s overall medical surge response. This recognizes the additional costs being experienced by the industry at large. DSS is proud to support Governor Lamont, our fellow state agencies, and key partners in this crucial initiative.”

Athena Health Care systems is one of the first private Connecticut nursing home providers to partner with the state on the effort to open up COVID-19 recovery centers.

Larry Santilli, president and CEO of Athena Health Care Systems, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented incredible and unprecedented challenges to the state. I am glad that Athena Health Care Systems is in a position to answer the state’s call for assistance at this critical time. Our history, experience, the expertise of our incredible team, and more than 35 years as Connecticut’s leader in senior care make us well-suited to help the state and to help those afflicted with COVID-19. The true heroes in this battle are the amazing teams at Sharon and Northbridge Health Care Centers, as well as the new teams assembling in Torrington and Meriden. I believe that their work will help in the state’s goal to mitigate this pandemic as much as possible and as quickly as possible. These centers can provide nearly 500 beds of post-acute care, providing much-needed support to our state’s acute care hospitals during the impending surge. Since the beginning of this pandemic, our leadership team in Farmington has been available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide counsel and management to every Athena center – and will now provide that expertise to new teams in Torrington and Meriden.”

Connecticut Long-Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter said, “Throughout this pandemic the governor, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, has had to make difficult decisions. I am thankful that they have kept the rights of residents, including the right to appropriate medical care, at the forefront of this decision making.”

Third COVID-19 recovery center deployed at CT Convention Center in Hartford:  

In an effort to boost capacity for COVID-19 patients, the State of Connecticut today began converting the Connecticut Convention Center into a recovery center with the assistance of the Connecticut National Guard. This facility will be licensed for operation and staffed by Hartford Healthcare. The recovery center will house up to 600 patients as they receive recovery care following COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.

The Connecticut Convention Center is the third recovery center to be sett up by the state during this pandemic, with the other two locations being at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.