Strengthening CT's Mental Health Care System

February 18, 2022

Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors,

As we continue to traverse the ever-changing landscape of Ms. Rona and her virus, most recently with less of a need for that harness and ability to belay, our focus must remain on the many ways in which this pandemic shed a light on the cracks far too many were already falling through. COVID-19 exacerbated inequalities, both social and structural, placing those already disadvantaged in a position of pushing that rock farther up the hill. These challenges existed before, and unfortunately will exist “after,” which is why now is the time we must invest in supporting and expanding ways to heal our society from the inside out. This could not be any more truer than for our youngest residents and those who will witness, experience, and survive the long-term effects of this time in our history. Today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders - need, and have always needed, the most robust mental and behavioral health care services to ensure they are prepared to help lead us into a new, and nobler normal.

Today, during a press conference at the State Capitol, a bipartisan coalition of legislators unveiled a landmark legislative proposal that would address our state's mental health crisis in the interim and for years to come. 

The bill, which you can learn more about here, seeks to make our state's mental health system more resilient by addressing the ongoing workforce shortages and expanding access to care. Specifically, the bill seeks to support mental health in schools, redefine insurance coverage for children experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges, and provide resources to providers to directly care for children. 

The bill remains a fluid document as it moves through the legislative process. Members of the state House of Representatives and Senate know that our children have been struggling with the impacts of the pandemic, and both are working to bolster our state's mental health system. We've heard from parents who are unable to find the care their children need, have sat for hours or in some cases days waiting for a bed at an inpatient care facility, and those who just don't know where to start. 

If you or a loved one needs help now, I have listed resources in the Mental Health section of this email.

Addressing the ongoing children's mental health emergency is a bipartisan priority for the 2022 legislative session. This is an opportunity to make historic changes to how our state addresses mental and behavioral health care. The system has been strained for years, but the pandemic exacerbated those challenges and highlighted additional gaps. We hope that this bill will fill those gaps and strengthen the system long after the 2022 legislative session. 

If you have questions or thoughts on this bill, or any proposals this session, I hope you'll reach out to me so I can ensure your voice is heard as we work to address the mental health crisis. Please reach out to me at or 860-240-8585.

Below you will find a guide to the following information. Click the subject links in this intro to go right to the topic in the body of this email.

You can find additional resources and information on my web site, If there's something you need help with that isn't included in this email, please check my website. If you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.



Overall Summary


Change Since Yesterday

COVID-19 Cases (confirmed and probable)



COVID-19 Tests Reported (molecular and antigen)



Daily Test Positivity



Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19



Of the 290 patients currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, 142 (49%) are not fully vaccinated.

For the week beginning February 6, 2022, unvaccinated persons had a 3.1x greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated persons.

For the week beginning February 6, 2022, unvaccinated persons had a 18.1x greater risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated persons.

Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is updated once per week every Thursday. The most recently reported total number of deaths is 10,324.

Click Here for COVID-19 Data Updates
Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
Click Here for Information on Getting Vaccinated

Specific Updates for Our Community

Town Total Cases Total Deaths Number of Tests Number of Positive Tests
East Hartford 12,377 184 209,061 15,559
Manchester 10,124 181 202,056 12,377
South Windsor 3,627 64 72,210 4,239

Weekly Update of the Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Alert Map

Vaccination against COVID-19 continues to be an important tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect against a severe case as well as hospitalization. I just got my 4th shot last Friday because I know that even if I get COVID-19, I'll be protected. 

Below are several vaccine clinics happening in our community:

  • Saturday, Feb. 19 
    • Raymond Library, 840 Main St, East Hartford,  11 a.m. - 3 p.m., for ages 5+
    • Bangladesh Bhaban Community Center, 9 Delmont St, Manchester, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., for ages 5+ 
  • Monday, Feb. 21
    • Stone Academy, 745 Burnside Ave, East Hartford, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., for ages 5+
  • Wednesday, Feb. 23
    • Odyssey Community School, 579 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., for ages 5+
  • Thursday, Feb. 24
    • Stone Academy, 745 Burnside Ave, East Hartford, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., for ages 5+

Information about getting vaccinated, including how to make an appointment and a list of clinics, is available on Connecticut's Vaccine Portal, here.

If you need assistance finding transportation to and from a vaccine appointment, you can find transportation resources here.

If you're a homebound resident, you can receive your COVID-19 shot at home. Complete the state Department of Public Health's Homebound Intake Form to get the appointment process started.

Testing remains a vital strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has had a confirmed case of COVID-19 should get tested. There are several drive-up and walk-up test sites in our area for residents who need a COVID-19 test now. Click the links below to find sites near you.

East Hartford

South Windsor


It's a long weekend! Don't forget that all state and town offices in East Hartford, Manchester, and South Windsor will be closed on Monday, February 21, 2022 in observance of Presidents’ Day. All town offices will reopen on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 for regularly scheduled hours of operation.

Curbside trash pickup and recycling pickup in East Hartford will be delayed by one day starting Tuesday, February 22, 2022 for the remainder of the week.

There will be no delay in curbside collection in Manchester and South Windsor.

In case you missed it, East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh recently launched a new Q&A campaign, "Ask the Mayor" to increase resident engagement and transparency. As part of the campaign, the Mayor will solicit questions from residents exclusively related to East Hartford matters. He'll answer those questions publicly either in writing, via Facebook LIVE, or pre-recorded videos that will be posted on the Mayor’s Facebook page and on the town website.
Questions will be accepted weekly Monday through Friday. The Mayor will answer your questions on Wednesdays, unless otherwise noted. The first round of questions has been answered. Click here to watch the video. To ask your questions, please click the button below.
Ask your questions here
The Manchester Delegation will be holding an in-person Pre-Session Town Hall Event next Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to hear from residents about their thoughts and concerns on state issues, and learn more about their ideas for legislation. The event will be streamed via Facebook LIVE if you would like to tune in from the comfort of your couch. If you're attending in-person, masks are required regardless of vaccination status. Find the full event details below.


During the pandemic, we have seen the affects isolation has had on mental health. With the reopening of schools and businesses on the horizon, doctors have expressed the likelihood of separation anxiety, public anxiety, survivors guilt, and of course, grief over all those who have been lost. Expressing the importance of taking care of your mental health and sharing resources can help fight the stigma and let your constituents know that we are in this together every step of the way. Below are several resources if you or someone you know is in need of support: 

  • Mobile Crisis Service 2-1-1: If your child is actively harming themselves, having suicidal thoughts, or planning to hurt others, call 911, or 2-1-1 and press option 1 for the Mobile Crisis Service. This is a 24 hour, 7 day a week free service to have your child immediately evaluated by a mental health professional. NOTE: If calling by cell phone, 2-1-1 can also be reached toll-free at: 800-203-1234 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628- 9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
  • Crisis Text Line - Text “HOME” to 741-741, or visit for more info.
  • NAMI Education Courses: The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers online education programs for parents and caregivers to learn more about supporting youth who are experiencing mental health symptoms. The NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session that can be completed on-demand, at your pace.
  • The State of Connecticut has several mental health resource. Find the list here
  • The Connecticut Children's Behavioral Health Toolkit also has helpful resources for children experiencing a mental health crisis. 
  • State Rep. Liz Linehan's website also has helpful mental health resources for children.
  • WrapCT is part of the Connecting to Care network. WrapCT emphasizes is a holistic approach to addressing mental and behavioral health changes for children and family. Click here to learn more.
  • CHR Health can help young adults and teens who may be struggling with substance use disorder through a comprehensive network of support. For more information about CHR's Substance Screening and Treatment Recovery services, click here.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a public health advisory on some Abbott Nutrition powdered infant formula products that were manufactured in the Sturgis, MI location. Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall on specific lots of powder formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare manufactured in Sturgis, MI., one of the company’s manufacturing facilities. The recall does not include any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas.
Abbott is voluntarily recalling these products after four consumer complaints related to Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella Newport in infants who had consumed powder infant formula manufactured in this facility. Although no distributed product has tested positive for either of these bacteria, the recall was initiated out of an abundance of caution. An investigation is ongoing.
The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:
  • The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and
  • The code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2; and
  • The expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

The code is printed on the product packaging near the expiration date. More details are available from the FDA, including pictures of how to find this information on the cans here.  
If your product is affected by the recall, do not use it and go to for a refund or replacement, depending on how the product was acquired or the type of product. You should seek safe, alternative feeding options and talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider. You can also call Similac customer service at 1-800-986-8540.


If you need good, quality, affordable health care and meet certain eligibility requirements, the Covered Connecticut Program, Access Health CT (AHCT) announced a Special Enrollment Period running now through June 30.

The Covered Connecticut Program pays the customer’s portion of the monthly payment (premium) directly to their insurance company. The program also covers the cost-sharing amounts residents normally would have to pay with a health insurance plan, including co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs.

To qualify for the Covered Connecticut Program, Connecticut residents must:

  • meet income requirements
  • be a parent or caretaker relative with children in the household that are under age 19 (if the children are age 18 or older, they must be full-time students in secondary school)
  • use all the financial help available through Access Health CT
  • be enrolled in an eligible Silver level health insurance plan.

To determine if you are eligible, have your questions answered and enroll in the Covered Connecticut Program during this Special Enrollment Period, call the Access Health CT Covered Connecticut Program hotline at 860-241-8478, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also click on the button “Covered Connecticut” for more details.
Coverage begins on the first of the month following enrollment so, if, for example, a person enrolls on February 5, their coverage begins on March 1.

Our state was recently awarded $24 million through the Federal Highway Administration's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to fund local cost-effective projects to reduce vehicle emissions in regions not meeting federal air quality standards. This initiative is a part of the state Department of Transportation's 5-year Capital Plan to reduce emissions, protect natural and community resources, and improve the health and safety of residents. The interim 5-year plan includes investments in our state's roads and bridges, public transportation, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure. 

To hear input and feedback from the public on this plan, CTDOT is holding a virtual Public Information session on Wednesday, February 23 at 7 p.m. To register for the session, click the button below. You'll also be able to find a recording on the CT Department of Transportation's website.

Register Here
AARP Connecticut invites local organizations and governments across the state to apply for the 2022 AARP Community Challenge grant program through March 22, 2022. Funding will support projects to help communities enhance the quality of life for residents by improving public spaces, transportation, housing, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more. Now in its sixth year, the grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which helps cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas become great places to live. 
You can learn more about this here.

If you want to open your own small business or take your business to the next level, the East Hartford Public Library can help! On February 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the library will begin offering monthly Small Business Support Open Hours.

During these Small Business Open Hours, you'll learn about the resources available for both aspiring and established small business owners from representatives from the Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Town of East Hartford's Development Department. This month's Open Hours event will feature Mayor Mike Walsh and featured partners SCORE and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

This is a hybrid event. To join via Zoom, or to make an in-person appointment, e-mail Magdelena Wittenzellner at In-person walk-ins are also welcome. In the event of inclement weather, the Open Hours will be moved to an entirely virtual format.

The South Windsor Chamber of Commerce is collecting new winter weather hats, mittens, coats, clothing, and boots for children through February 28 as part of its Warming Hands/Warming Hearts Program. Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
  • Windsor Federal Savings, 176 Deming St, South Windsor
  • American Eagle Financial Credit Union, 530 Buckland Rd, South Windsor
  • Design Professionals, Inc., 21 Jeffrey Dr, South Windsor

Monetary donations and gift cards to grocery stores are also being accepted You can learn more about this fundraiser by calling the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce at 860-644-9442 or Design Profesionals at 860-291-8755, or click here.

Game on! 

It's winter sports season at our middle and high schools! Click the links below for schedules of this week's games:

You can also find schedules and results on the CIAC website.

CIAC Website

Last month, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced the historic Sheff v. O'Neill settlement, ending 32 years of litigation. The agreement has been presented to the Connecticut Superior Court and will go to the Connecticut General Assembly for approval, then it will go back to the court for final approval. If the court offers final approval, the agreement could avoid a court-ordered plan that prevents elected officials from making decisions about educational policy and finance. The CGA has 30 days to act from February 15, 2022. 

While the settlement is vital in ensuring Hartford students receive a high-quality education, I question how it will financially impact traditional school districts, like East Hartford and Manchester. With the settlement, the call to action for an equitable funding model for all schools - traditional, magnet, charter - couldn't be more necessary or relevant. I have continuously fought for a fully funded, student-centered Education Cost Sharing model that takes each school district's unique needs into account and build upon measures successfully enacted over recent years. 

You can read more about the settlement here. You can learn more about how state lawmakers are discussing Sheff this session on the Hartford Courant website, here.


The Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy has established a strategic partnership with with Social Venture Partners Connecticut to hire two new workforce strategy leaders to help execute the Governor's Workforce Council's recommendations for workforce development. This initiative is supported through a generous grant from Bank of America.

Austin Hutchinson and Ben Stang will join the team as workforce strategy directors in IT and healthcare, respectively. They will work closely with the Office of Workforce Strategy to support the roll out of CareerConneCT, a job training program that aims to connect 8,000 participants to in-demand jobs. In addition, they will help coordinate workforce development initiatives focused on their respective industries, ranging from developing more flexible, industry-aligned job training programs, designing career pathway programs for high school students, expanding recruitment of marginalized populations into employment opportunities, and increasing business engagement through the regional sector partnerships.

Prior to taking this position, Hutchinson served as the IBM Program Manager for the Norwalk P-TECH program, an innovative early college program serving hundreds of Norwalk students. He also served as a teacher with Teach for America. Stang previously served as an associate program officer at The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust overseeing a health care grant portfolio and worked for Community Healthcare Network, a federally qualified health center in New York City.

Bank of America is one of the first private companies to provide support to the Office of Workforce Strategy to help execute Governor Lamont’s vision for workforce development in Connecticut. CareerConneCT, and several other active initiatives, will help increase the healthcare and IT workforce by over 2,500 people each over the next three years.

To learn more about this initiative, please click here.

Building upon recent successes at Connecticut's airports, Breeze Airways will be establishing a base at Bradley International Airport, bringing over 200 new jobs to Connecticut. The airline also plans to add 8 new nonstop destinations at Bradley, brining the total number of destinations it serves from the airport to 12. It will announce the new destinations it serves in the coming weeks. Its current destinations include Charleston, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Norfolk, Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is great news for our state. To read the full announcement, please click here.
As the Co-chair of the Commerce Committee and the Manufacturing Caucus, it’s always great to see an expansion in ways that may attract more of our residents, specifically our students, to the field of manufacturing. Last week, Connecticut State Community College and WCSU unveiled the new Naugatuck Valley Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center at WCSU. This facility will train students for the over 6,000 manufacturing jobs open today. It's initiatives like this and smart policy decisions that are helping to position our state to become a hub for this growing industry. You can learn more about this initiative here.
National Development recently met with the East Hartford Town Council to present its development proposal for the former Pratt & Whitney Airfield. National Development plans to build a four-building manufacturing, research and development, and logistics hub near Rentschler Field. The project could create about 2,000 permanent jobs and generate an estimated $4 million in new annual tax revenue. You can read more about this proposal on the Hartford Business Journal website, here.

Through the state's Department of Labor, the American Job Center offers resources, information, and support for individuals throughout the state searching for a job. You can receive help writing a resume and attend interview technique workshops for those currently on the job hunt. For more information, click here.
The State of Connecticut is hiring! You can find a variety of seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. There are jobs open to members of the public as well as those already employed at a state agency or organization. You can find a full list of openings here.
The Town of Manchester is hiring for a variety of positions. Openings include assistant general town manager, buyer, police officers, school crossing guard, and more. To learn more about these great opportunities and to apply, click here.

Click here for the Town Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the East Hartford Public Library. 

Click here for East Hartford Community Television. 



Click here for the Public Meetings calendar.

Click here for the Community Events calendar.

Click here for information on the South Windsor Public Library. 

Click here for South Windsor's Government Television Programming - watch LIVE town council meetings! 



Click here for the Town Meetings and Community Events Calendar.

Click here for information on the Manchester Public Library. 

Click here for Manchester Public Television. 

Upcoming Meetings and Events

A full calendar of all events happening at the Capitol next week, including public hearings, is available on the General Assembly website

You can find the agenda for public hearings on the calendar by clicking on the calendar item and following the link to the committee page. For instructions on how to testify at a public hearing, please click here.

You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House so far this session here.

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