COVID-19 Update No. 2, 3/25

March 25, 2020

Some sad news to report from the latest COVID-19 numbers. There have been 257 new positive tests since Tuesday's update bringing the total tin Connecticut to 875. Approximately 113 people are being hospitalized, and 19 residents have died.

As a reminder, please, if you can, stay home. Stay home and stay safe!

Here's is some invaluable information on the local, state and federal level regarding COVID-19 from Congressman Jim Himes' District Director. But first, Tele Town Hall is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday the 26th at 1:30PM. It is expected to focus on legislation Congress is passing around on the COVID-19 pandemic.

To listen to the Himes Tele Town Hall, please click here and feel free to share:

Please see the updates and useful information below. You will also find answers to many questions you may have including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or H.R. 6201:

The government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is constantly evolving, so please stay up-to-date on information from verified sources. Learn more online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the State of Connecticut. By phone, you may contact 1-800-CDC-INFO, call 2-1-1, or text “CTCOVID” to 898211 for more information. To receive updates about the virus and how the government is responding to it, you may subscribe to the CDC’s Subscription Service or sign up for our newsletter. You may also review the State of Connecticut’s answers to Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about how the state is responding.

Can you explain what congress has done so far?

On March 5, Congress passed a bipartisan bill that appropriated $8.3 billion in funding to improve the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act includes:

  • $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus;
  • $2.2 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies for prevention, preparedness, and response;
  • Nearly $1 billion to purchase pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, in support of healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
  • $61 million for the Food and Drug Administration to respond to coronavirus, including developing medical products;
  • $1.25 billion to prevent and respond to the outbreak abroad;
  • $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture producers that have suffered financial losses stemming from the outbreak. The Small Business Administration could provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities using this funding. Please visit the Small Business Administration’s website for further information about Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus; and
  • Measures to ensure that the government can purchase vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics at a fair and reasonable price.

You can review a section-by-section summary of the bill here.

On the heels of that relief package, the House of Representatives recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill will ensure every American that needs to get tested for the coronavirus can do so, and will protect families’ economic, food, and health security.

  • For families’ health security: The bill ensures that free tests will be available for all Americans that need one, at no cost. This includes those with private insurance, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA coverage, as well as the uninsured.
  • For families’ economic security: The legislation requires employers with under 500 employees to guarantee up to two weeks of paid leave for sick workers, and gives workers with children that have impacted by the pandemic the ability to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave. The bill also provides $1 billion to states to expand their Unemployment Insurance programs.
  • For families’ food security: The bill allocates $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to ensure that low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to COVID-19 can access nutritious food. To support food banks, the bill provides $400 million to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which will allow local food banks to purchase and distribute nutritious meals to low-income Americans. In addition, it provides funding to ensure students whose schools are closed can eat, home-bound seniors can get meals delivered to them, and SNAP recipients won’t face harsh work requirements.
  • For businesses’ security: The bill includes tax relief for small and medium-sized businesses that fulfill their obligations to provide paid sick, family, and medical leave to workers.

In the days ahead, Congress work to advance additional legislation that aims to contain the virus and mitigate its impact on working families.

What precautions should I take to avoid COVID-19?

According to the CDC, you should:

  • Practice social distancing by avoiding close contact with others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Only use a facemask if you are showing symptoms.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid, cancel, or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more.

For more information on the precautions you take, please visit the CDC’s website here. The CDC also offers answers to FAQs for Individuals and Families here.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus may include:

  • Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

In comparison, common flu symptoms may include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

I feel sick. What should I do? Where can I get tested?

Please read the CDC’s detailed recommendations here. If you are suffering from symptoms associated with the coronavirus or believe you’ve been exposed to someone carrying the disease, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean your hands often
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
  • Monitor your symptoms

For further instructions, contact a medical profession or a community health center. These healthcare professionals can share information on how and when you can leave self-isolation safely. To prevent the potential spread of the virus, you should not show up to a treatment facility unannounced.

Veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call their VA medical facility or MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3) before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities. Veterans can also send secure messages to their healthcare providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

What should I do to care for someone who has or is afraid that they may have coronavirus?

What assistance is available for businesses and non-profits?

U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance
To fulfill its obligations under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Small Business Administration is offering designated states, including Connecticut, low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA may issue these Economic Injury Disaster Loans to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate for these loans is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

How to Apply
Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loan here:

Contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), e-mail, or reach out to Connecticut’s SBA District Offices for more information.

The SBA anticipates that application processing can take 2-3 weeks and disbursement can take an additional 5 days. Contact my Bridgeport District Office if you need more information on the processing of your application.

Internal Revenue Service Tax Credits
As required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor released information on the government’s plan to provide paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses that require assistance.
Key Takeaways for Eligible Employers
Paid Leave for Workers
Employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave in connection to the outbreak.
Coverage for Employers
Employers may receive refundable tax credits that will offset the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave.
Fast Funds
Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
Phone: 860-500-2333
Fairfield County Community Foundation
Phone: 203-750-3200
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 1-800-638-6582
National Main Street
Phone: 312-610-5613

What is Connecticut doing?

Connecticut Coronavirus Portal
Find the most up-to-date information on the state’s actions at

Executive Actions
Click here for more information about Emergency Orders issued by Governor Lamont and State Agencies.

Special Open Enrollment Period
Access Health CT is enrolling qualified uninsured Connecticut residents through April 2, 2020. To see if you qualify, go to or call 1-855-365-2428.

File for unemployment benefits through the Connecticut Department of Labor. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Department released a quick sheet related to the virus that can answer your FAQs about COVID-19’s impact on workers and employers.

Attorney General William Tong announced that the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority has granted an emergency moratorium on electric, natural gas, and water utility shut-offs.

Price Gouging
Report your concerns about price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General by calling 860-808-5318 or online here. During an emergency disaster, sellers cannot charge prices that would be unjustifiable during normal business operations.

The Connecticut Insurance Department instructed insurers to accommodate travel cancellation requests under certain terms and conditions. Consumers who have questions on travel insurance can contact the Insurance Department by email at or by calling 860-297-3900.

Social Distancing
Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8:00 P.M., all non-essential businesses and non-profit entities in Connecticut must suspend any in-person functions. Click here for information from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to learn more about which businesses provide essential services.

You may also review the State of Connecticut’s answers to Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about how the state is responding.

What is the government doing to prevent foreclosures and evictions?

At the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will suspend foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage for at least 60 days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also offer payment forbearance to borrowers, thereby allowing homeowners to defer their mortgage payments.
Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help
Use Fannie Mae’s Loan Lookup Tool
Call 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643)

Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19
Use Freddie Mac’s Loan Lookup Tool
Call 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will implement a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration for the next 60 days.

What assistance is available for taxpayers?

On March 21, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service delayed the federal income tax filing due date from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
All taxpayers – individuals, trusts and estates, corporations, and other non-corporate tax filers, and those who pay self-employment tax – can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without being penalized or paying interest.
This relief automatically applies to taxpayers, meaning no additional forms are required to qualify for the extension.
Individual taxpayers can request a filing extension beyond the July 15 deadline by filing Form 4868 through a tax professional, tax software, or using the IRS’s Free File tool. Businesses interested in an extension must file Form 7004.
Taxpayers seeking a refund should file as soon as possible. The IRS states that it is issuing most tax refunds within 21 days. Check the status of your refund here.
Find out more information from the IRS.
The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) extended the personal income tax return filing and payment to July 15. Learn more online from DRS.

Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about if you qualify from the Connecticut Department of Labor. View the Department’s guidance for workers and employers here.

What is being done to secure medical supplies and equipment for healthcare professionals?

The Connecticut Congressional Delegation is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to provide sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary equipment to Connecticut healthcare providers and hospitals. Please contact the Connecticut Department of Health regarding the distribution of such equipment. In the short term, follow the CDC’s recommendations for conserving PPE and N95 Respirators.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is partnering with United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut to support Connecticut’s medical community by accumulating charitable donations. Learn more here. Companies looking to sell or donate medical supplies, equipment, or services to assist the COVID-19 response may contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

My child relies on Food and Nutrition Service programs to eat. What assistance is available?

On March 6, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released guidance for how schools, child care institutions, and community organizations can continue to deliver reimbursable meals to food-insecure children during coronavirus-related school closures.

States that receive waivers from the USDA can work with partner organizations to provide meals at safe, designated non-school sites or in congregate settings to limit disruption for children in need of food assistance. The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) received these waivers from the agency. More information is available here.

Families with school-aged children concerned about food security should review the following town-by-town information to learn more:

For more information about the USDA’s response to the coronavirus, please click here.

How is the coronavirus impacting travel?

What information is available about the travel ban?

  • Foreign citizens who have traveled to any of the following countries within the last 14 days will not be allowed into the United States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. However, American citizens will be granted entry.
  • Americans who have traveled to impacted countries will be required to enter the country through one of 13 predetermined airports that have the capacity for enhanced screening and testing procedures.
  • Green card holders will be allowed back into the United States. DHS policy states that legal permanent residents are exempt from the travel restrictions and will be granted entry back into the United States. Green card holders, like all American citizens returning from these countries, may be redirected to one of the 13 airports with enhanced screening procedures.
  • If an American citizen returns to the country and shows symptoms of COVID-19 after testing at an airport, he or she will receive treatment and be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Generally, immediate family members of legal permanent residents will be granted entry into the country and will be subject to the same screening and testing procedures.

I’m concerned about my internet connection being shut off. What should I do?

The Federal Communications Commission launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to ensure internet service providers support Am