with Herald reports
HARTFORD - Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency Tuesday in response to the coronavirus.
Lamont said the move would allow him to do things such as order quarantines to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of victims recover from the virus.
Mayor Erin Stewart updated her Facebook status with the latest on coronavirus preparations, stating that the city is in constant contact with local and state health officials staying up to date on the latest cases in the state.
“I will be meeting again with the leadership of the Hospital of Central CT this week and CCSU officials. Please take comfort in knowing your leaders are connecting, planning and in constant communication. I will be participating in a call with the White House tomorrow for a nationwide update,” she stated.
The mayor also encourages residents to call 211 for coronavirus-related questions or visit the state’s coronavirus information website at www.ct.gov/coronavirus .
As the spread of the coronavirus continues in Connecticut and across New England, lawmakers and officials urge people to remain calm but informed. Connecticut state Sen. Gennaro Bizzarro said, “As the governor and public health officials have noted, taking common sense steps now to reduce the possibility of a community outbreak is critical. The governor’s declaration enables him to better protect state residents, especially our most vulnerable populations. I also commend (New Britain) Mayor Stewart on all she is doing to keep city residents updated with the best and most up-to-date information. This is a team effort to get and stay prepared, and I thank the public for heeding this advice.”
U.S. Rep Jahana Hayes said “Gov. Lamont and the entire response taskforce recognize the seriousness of this public health crisis and are taking the requisite steps necessary to keep our communities safe. I will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with the governor’s office - especially when it comes to local school districts making the choice to close and the effect it will have on students, faculty, their families and the community.”
Hayes added that the state’s delegation to Washington “continues to push for better communication from federal leaders. I am advocating for more test kits and robust funding - including the CDC Global Health Security funding, Hospital Preparedness Programs, and the $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations package that supports diagnostic test development and improved testing capabilities in order to assist state and local leaders.”
The governor outlined steps and updated information on the virus spread in the Nutmeg State on Wednesday during his press conference.
Lamont declared both a civil preparedness and public health emergency in Connecticut in response to the outbreak.
The Democratic governor said the move will allow him to ramp up testing in Connecticut. Under the law, it also will allow the governor to order quarantines, vaccinations and seek federal assistance.
Administration officials said so far 56 people have been tested, with two testing positive for the virus. There are currently 19 cases awaiting test results.
A vaccine for the virus is not expected to be ready for months.
A regional school district is shutting down from Wednesday through March 15 for disinfecting because of contact with the state’s other virus patient. That person, a nurse in her 60s who lives in Bethlehem and works at Bridgeport Hospital, tested positive after a trip to Nevada. The administration said she had contact with children at a day care and a student in the Region 14 school district. None of the children has symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.
While several legislative committees continued their work on Tuesday, a modified schedule is planned for the rest of the week and possibly beyond at Connecticut’s state Capitol complex to help prevent any spread of the virus.
Activities will be limited on Wednesday to two, shortened public hearings and a planned vote by the House of Representatives and Senate on a borrowing bill. The state Capitol, Legislative Office Building and the Old State House will then be closed to for an extensive cleaning on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Lawmakers immediately closed the complex to any non-legislative events, meetings and gatherings. That’s forced groups ranging from the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut to the National Kidney Foundation to cancel events at which they planned to talk to lawmakers.
Legislative leaders have also agreed to extend committee deadlines, but the General Assembly’s May 6th adjournment deadline cannot be changed because it’s set in the state’s constitution. If lawmakers need more time, they’ll have to call a special legislative session.
Organizers announced that the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford, scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled. That announcement came a day after New Haven scrapped plans for its parade. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city would try to reschedule or find some way to honor the Irish heritage of many of its residents.
Locally, Bristol Hospital announced on Monday that it would be setting up trailers on its campus to test for the virus, while the Hospital of Central Connecticut added a full web page about the virus on its site where the public can get up-to-date information on preventive measures and other medical data. Visit the site at hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/coronavirus.