Coronavirus Update

March 10, 2020

In the midst of the growing global coronavirus outbreak I would like to provide you with the following update based on a Public Health briefing held at the Legislative Office Building and a conference call with the Governor Monday afternoon.

Governor Lamont recently announced the second presumptive case of coronavirus in Connecticut. This brings the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Connecticut to two. Officials said the second patient is being cared for at Bridgeport Hospital, but is not a Bridgeport resident. Previously the first state resident that had tested positive for COVID-19 was a Wilton resident being treated at Danbury Hospital. In addition, there has been a quarantine of seven Trinity College students. They're self-quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19 off campus and out of the area.

On Monday, Governor Lamont confirmed that the state now has a second test kit, saying one kit can test up to 600 patients. Public Health officials plan to have four trailers by next week to help start evaluating people. Priorities are those who are already hospitalized and are showing symptoms. They also said they expected the mortality rate of the virus to drop to that of the flu, which is less than 1 percent.

During yesterday's conference call Governor Lamont also announced a travel ban for all state employees and urged that any public meetings with over 100 people be cancelled. Also announced on Monday was that all public hearings set for Thursday and Friday at the state legislature have been postponed as the building will be closed for cleaning.

For updates, please go to the Gov. Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health websites for the latest information on the spread of CIVID-19 in Connecticut and information on what the state is doing to address the problem.

Here are some facts for everyone to consider:

  • The best way to avoid Coronavirus is to avoid exposure. Below are some important tips to consider:We should all adopt good habits: frequent hand-washing (20 seconds with soap and lots of water) fist or elbow-bumping instead of handshakes/hugs; staying at home if you feel ill rather than infecting others.
  • If you think you have the symptoms of the virus -- fever, cough and shortness of breath – contact a health professional or the Health Dept. – do NOT go to the hospital emergency room or doctors’ office before alerting them!
  • Only those whom the healthcare provider considers likely to be infected will be tested at this point – there is a current shortage in testing kits and lab technicians that is being addressed. Production and training will alleviate the situation soon.
  • Everyone should prepare for the possibility of staying at home for two weeks (safe period for assuring you’re not infected, only if reason for concern): stock up on food and required medications – don’t worry about hand sanitizers or masks!
  • 80% of those infected will experience only mild symptoms. The elderly, those with co-morbidities (chronic or serious conditions) and the immuno-compromised are at greatest risk. Some infected people will show no symptoms.
  • Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment, such as masks and ventilators, are being prioritized for front-line healthcare professionals and first-responders.  Again, production is ramping up and supplies will eventually increase.
  • Quest and LabCorp will soon be able to perform testing (mouth swabs), but not at all the usual blood-drawing centers; acute care hospitals are also preparing to handle testing. Your healthcare provider should confirm the need to test.
  • Test results take a few days (assuming labs are not overwhelmed); positive results are sent to the CDC for confirmation. If the test is confirmed positive, isolation, treatment and community mitigation protocols will be implemented.
  • State agencies, first-responders, hospitals and urgent care facilities, school districts have been in constant contact, coordinating on response planning and best practices.
  • BOTTOM LINE: don’t panic, act sensibly, set a good example for others. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (good advice, in general)!

What if you have questions?

For more information as mentioned, visit the Connecticut state Department of Public Health website or all the call the State’s 2-1-1 number. Hospitals are also enhancing their websites to provide good information.