State COVID-19 Update April 21: CT Numbers Keep Rising, Gov. Seeks to Ramp Up Testing

Gov. Ned Lamont provided his nightly update on the state’s response to the coronavirus health crisis, for Tuesday, April 21.

By the Numbers (April 21)
  • New one-day positive cases in CT residents:  545
    • April 20:  1,853
    • April 19:  412
    • April 18:  741
  • Total CT cases: 20,360 (includes more than 64,192 tests – 1,386 on April 21 – conducted in state and private labs)
  • Total People currently hospitalized: 1,949  (+30)
    • April 20:  1,919  (+18)
    • April 19:  1,901 (-37)
  • Total Fairfield County Hospitalizations:  735  (+2)
    • April 20:  733  (-13)
    • April 19:  746  (-30)
  • Total Fairfield County cases:   8,472  (+152)
    • April 20:  8,320  (+886)
    • April 19:  7,434 (+71)
  • Total CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19:  1,423  (+92)
    • April 20:  1,331 (+204)
    • April 19:  1,127 (+41)
    • April 18:  1,086  (+50)
  • Total Fairfield County Deaths:  544  (+32)
    • April 20:  512  (+65)
    • April 19:  447 (+15)
    • April 18:  432  (+7)

It should be noted that 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.

Governor Lamont announces state seeking proposals from organizations to scale-up Connecticut’s testing capacity

Governor Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut issued an RFP seeking organizations that want to partner with the state in its efforts to significantly scale-up its daily COVID-19 testing capacity as part of its efforts to reopen the state’s economy.

In addition to the current testing of patients and front line workers who are currently exhibiting symptoms of the virus, the state is planning to significantly build out its capacity to test people who are not exhibiting any symptoms, including front line essential workers, and test them regularly, knowing that COVID-19 can be transmitted before people develop symptoms. To do this, the Lamont administration is looking for proposals from organizations that will support sample collection efforts, particularly in urban and underserved communities where significant impacts of COVID-19 have been prevalent, in addition to proposals from CLIA-certified testing labs.

“The sooner we can identify people with the infection, the sooner they can self-isolate and we can trace their contacts,” Lamont said. “That’s how we will drive infection rates down and prevent rebounds in infection rates as we begin to reopen.”

Lamont recently issued executive orders under the state of emergency that have suspended many of the state contracting requirements and will allow the administration to expedite the process. Proposals will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis, ensuring that testing capacity can be rapidly built up to support the state’s reopening plans.

To read the RFP, click here.

Governor Lamont announces payment relief for student loan borrowers

Governor Ned Lamont and Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez, in collaboration with other states, today announced that the State of Connecticut has secured relief options with many private student loan servicers whose borrowers are not covered by the recently adopted federal CARES Act. This new initiative will benefit Connecticut residents with privately held student loans.

While the CARES Act provided relief for students with federal loans, it did not address millions of student loan borrowers with federal loans that are not owned by the U.S. Government, as well as loans made by private lenders.

“So many of our residents are facing unprecedented financial hardship, and our young people are burdened with additional student loan debt,” Lamont said. “I applaud the Banking Department and the student loan servicers for launching this initiative to provide much-needed relief to the young people of our state who are not covered by the CARES Act, as well as their families.”

“Student loan borrowers, regardless of whether or not they are federally guaranteed, who are having trouble making their payments should immediately reach out to their servicers to discuss what options best suit their needs,” Commissioner Perez said. “I’m pleased that we were able to work with our student loan servicers as well as other states to bring this initiative to the people of Connecticut.”

Under this new initiative, Connecticut residents with commercially owned Federal Family Education Loan Programs or privately held student loans who are struggling to make their payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for expanded relief.  Borrowers in need of assistance should immediately contact their student loan servicer to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances. Relief options through the servicers listed below include:

  • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance;
  • Waiving late payment fees;
  • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting;
  • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days; and
  • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

Additionally, if regulated student loan servicers are limited in their ability to take these actions due to investor restrictions or contractual obligations, servicers should instead proactively work with loan holders whenever possible to relax those restrictions or obligations. The Department of Banking encourages prudent and reasonable actions taken to support relief for borrowers during the pandemic.

To determine the types of federal loans residents have and who their servicers are, borrowers can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TDD). Borrowers with private student loans can check the contact information on their monthly billing statements.

If a borrower is experiencing trouble with their student loan servicer, they are encouraged to ask to speak to a supervisor. If assistance is still needed, they can contact the following and file a complaint:

Private student loan servicers providing relief under this initiative include:

  • Aspire Resources, Inc.
  • College Ave Student Loan Servicing, LLC
  • Earnest Operations
  • Edfinancial
  • Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation
  • Lendkey Technologies, Inc.
  • MOHELA
  • Navient
  • Nelnet
  • SoFi Lending Corp.
  • Tuition Options
  • United Guaranty Services, Inc.
  • Upstart Network, Inc.
  • Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority
  • Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Additional private student loan servicers may be added. An up-to-date list will be maintained on the Connecticut Department of Banking’s website.

States joining this initiative include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Life insurers warned not to ask applicants for their COVID-19 health history

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais is warning all life insurers doing business in Connecticut to refrain from asking applicants about exposure to the novel coronavirus.

In a department notice issued by the Connecticut Insurance Department to all insurance companies that offer life insurance coverage in Connecticut, the state agency is advising that any life insurance application form filed for review should not include questions related to COVID-19, including questions about being quarantined. Any life insurance application form filing that contains such questions will not be approved.

“The state of emergency has already placed undue hardship on families and businesses during this pandemic,” Commissioner Mais said. “Families need the security that life insurance brings and any new barriers to coverage must be avoided. Some carriers may want to know if people applying for coverage have self-isolated due to symptoms, or been tested for the disease or diagnosed with it. That won’t be allowed in Connecticut.”

Consumers, insurers and brokers with questions can contact the department directly by email or by calling the Insurance Department at 1-800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900.

Connecticut insurance commissioner applauds CIGNA and New York Life for creating foundation benefitting COVID-19 health care workers and volunteers

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais is commending CIGNA and New York Life for their creation of the Brave of Heart Fund to benefit the bereaved families of COVID-19 front line health care workers and volunteers.

“Grieving families need so much support,” Commissioner Mais said. “CIGNA and New York Life have truly answered the call and responded to help protect the financial security of families affected by our current crisis.”

More information on the Brave of Heart Fund can be found online.