State COVID-19 Update, March 24: CT Cases Jump 200+ in One Day

At his daily press conference, Gov. Ned Lamont told media that an additional 203 Connecticut residents tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 618.

By the Numbers (March 24)
  • New positive cases in CT residents:  203
  • Total CT cases:  618 (includes 5,300 tests conducted in state and private labs)
  • People hospitalized:  71 (23 in Fairfield County)
  • Fairfield County cases: 384
  • CT fatalities due to complications from COVID-19:  12 (7 in Fairfield County)

The state has made available on its website 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 among age groups.

Today’s Executive Order

On Tuesday, Lamont signed his 13th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, enacting the following provisions:

  • Extends the cancellation of classes at public schools statewide through at least April 20:  The governor noted that this date could possibly be extended further. Private schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
  • Orders the early opening of the fishing season, effective immediately
  • Suspends restrictions on the re-employment of retired municipal employees: Enables municipalities to meet critical staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training; the order modifies state statutes to allow certain retired employees who are in the municipal retirement system to work without any hourly or durational limitation while also continuing to receive retirement allowances.
  • Exacts flexibility to maintain adequate medical marijuana access for patients: The order modifies the state’s medical marijuana program to improve patient access and address staffing shortages in facilities. This includes permitting patients to be certified via telehealth; extending expiration dates for patient and caregiver registrations; allowing dispensary facility staff to move work locations among facilities and, with approval of the state, make adjustments to staffing ratios; and waiving the fee normally charged if someone loses or misplaces their registration certificate.
  • Extends the time period for nursing home transfers: The order extends the time allowed for an applicant to transfer from a nursing home where they were temporarily placed after their nursing home closed from sixty days after their arrival at the new facility to “not later than one year following the date that such applicant was transferred from the nursing home where he or she previously resided.”
  • Enacts flexibility in availability and registration of vital records: The order authorizes the Commissioner of Public Health to conduct birth, death and marriage registration, in order to assist local registrars of vital statistics in carrying out their duties as may be required, and to issue any implementing orders she deems necessary.
  • Suspends in-person purchase of copies of vital records at the Department of Public Health: The order suspends the requirement that the purchase of vital records at the Department of Public Health be available in person, and limits those requests to online or mail.
  • Modifies the requirement that marriage licenses be obtained in the town where the marriage will be celebrated: As municipal offices around the state are closed or have selective hours due to the COVID-19 crisis, the order permits those seeking a marriage license to obtain it in a different municipality than where it will be celebrated.
Mobile Field Hospital Launches at Saint Francis Hospital

In coordination with the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), a mobile field hospital was deployed today on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford with the assistance of the Governor’s Foot and Horse Guard.

The Ottilie W. Lundgren Memorial Field Hospital is a state-of-the-art mobile field hospital designed to support the state’s health care system in response to significant emergencies. It is deployable as a flexible configuration of 25-bed units that operate jointly or independently to provide triage and treatment anywhere in the state in the event of a mass casualty. It can also support an acute care hospital after a catastrophic structural or mechanical failure. The hospital assembles in hours and can be ready to triage and treat hundreds of patients during any public health emergency. It was named in 2006 in honor of a Connecticut woman who died from inhalational anthrax in 2001.

Public Health commissioner provides guidance on PPE conservation and testing strategies

Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell today sent a memo to all healthcare providers outlining strategies for the conservation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as guidance on COVID-19 testing strategies. The entire memo is online.

Department of Public Health seeks healthcare professionals to volunteer their services

DPH is asking healthcare professionals, such as retired nurses and doctors, to consider volunteering their services at a medical facility in Connecticut. Those willing to volunteer should fill out the online form, and their information will be reviewed by staff at DPH who will connect the volunteer to a location in need. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 900 nurses have already signed up to volunteer, and DPH is ready to activate more than 300.

State continues receiving PPE donations from entities across Connecticut

As part of Gov. Lamont’s ongoing request for donations of Personal Protective Equipment that can be used by the medical community, the state today received several more shipments of materials, including:

  • 30 N95 masks from an anonymous donor
  • 68 N95 masks from Kilbourn Farms in Simsbury
  • 40 N95 masks from a private donor in Redding
  • 160 N95 masks and nearly 40,000 nitrile gloves from the Mohegan Sun

The governor thanks each of the donors for their generosity. The donations will be distributed based on the needs of medical facilities and first responders.

Members of the public, businesses, and philanthropic organizations that are able to donate these vital materials are urged to contact the state by filling out the online form.

Insurance Department calls on insurers to extend a grace period for premium payments during the COVID-19 crisis

Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Andrew N. Mais today sent a bulletin to every insurance company in the state calling on them to immediately institute a grace period for insurance premium payments in light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioner is requesting that all admitted and non-admitted insurance companies that offer any insurance coverage in Connecticut–including life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance–to immediately provide customers with a 60-day grace period without interest or penalty to pay their insurance premiums.

Connecticut National Guard continues providing logistical support to medical facilities

The Connecticut National Guard is continuing to provide logistical support to medical facilities across the state. Leadership at the Guard wants residents to be aware that if they see a man or woman in their community wearing a military uniform it is likely because they are providing assistance to ensure that health care workers have the ability to do their jobs.

As another philanthropic donor steps forward, Governor Lamont creates task force of superintendents to oversee distribution of remote learning resources

Governor Lamont today announced that the Nooyi family is making a donation of high-quality, take-home books from Scholastic that will provide reading and writing instruction to more than 185,000 prekindergarten to 8th grade students while learning from home. The books are aligned with Connecticut state learning standards, and parents are encouraged to work with students at home to complete these exercises.

This donation comes in addition to another one announced yesterday by the nonprofit Partnership of Connecticut, which will be providing up to 60,000 laptops to students from some of the state’s most under-resourced high schools.

To oversee the distribution of these resources, Governor Lamont and State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona have created the Governor’s COVID-19 Learn from Home Task Force, which will consist of several superintendents from across the state, including Paul Freeman (Guilford) and Nate Quesnel (East Hartford), who will serve as co-chairs, and Michael Connor (Middletown), Melony Brady Shanley (Winchester), Verna Ruffin (Waterbury), and Iline Tracy (New Haven), who will serve as members. Nick Simmons, Manager of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Governor, and Desi Nesmith, Deputy Commissioner of SDE, will also serve as members. The group will be responsible for coordinating superintendents of districts that opt-in for the donations to ensure a safe and efficient distribution process of these critical learning materials to districts and families across the state.