COVID-19 Update, 4/3

April 3, 2020

Here is the latest update from Governor Ned Lamont on the state's coronavirus response efforts.

(HARTFORD, CT) – As the State of Connecticut continues taking actions in response to the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Governor Ned Lamont provided the following updates as of 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020:

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 1,091 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 4,915. To date, more than 20,015 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 909 patients have been hospitalized. The total statewide total number of fatalities is 132.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County

Laboratory Confirmed Cases

Hospitalized Cases

Deaths

Fairfield County

2,717

409

76

Hartford County

679

166

18

Litchfield County

173

14

4

Middlesex County

91

12

2

New Haven County

891

293

18

New London County

40

9

3

Tolland County

79

3

10

Windham County

27

3

0

Pending address validation

218

0

1

Total

4,915

909

132

For several 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 and deaths among age groups, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Lamont announces extensive measures to support Connecticut’s long-term care facilities, staff, and residents

Governor Lamont today announced that the state’s 213 nursing homes are receiving a 10 percent across-the-board increase in Medicaid payments to help meet extraordinary costs from the public health emergency. The payment increase will be applied toward employee wages, including staff retention bonuses, overtime, and shift incentive payments; and new costs related to screening of visitors, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and housekeeping supplies.

The 10 percent funding increase runs from April 1 through June 30, with an initial payment of $11.6 million scheduled to be received by nursing homes on April 7. The three-month increase is expected to total $35.3 million. In addition, the state is offering to assist with start-up costs and to make $600 per-day payment to all facilities that are designated by the Department of Public Health as suitable to be re-opened for the purpose of serving residents with COVID-19 and who need nursing home level of care.

“We will do everything possible to protect the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors in nursing homes – and the health and safety of the faithful, dedicated and skilled staff members who care for them,” Governor Lamont said. “Together with nursing home industry and union representing many of the men and women on the front line of care, my administration is working on a number of levels to support and fund high-quality health care services during this pandemic and beyond.”

For more information, read the press release issued today by Governor Lamont.

Governor Lamont urges volunteers from the general public to participate in Connecticut’s COVID-19 response efforts

Governor Lamont and a large number of state officials and nonprofit providers are urging Connecticut residents to consider taking on a volunteer role in their communities to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis. While the state already began a campaign seeking out volunteers who have health care experience, today the state is launching a campaign seeking volunteers from the general public who are needed for other services at many different types of providers, such as food banks, deliveries to the elderly, shelters, and more.

The governor stressed that the COVID-19 outbreak is having a wide-ranging impact, and that means a large amount of skill sets are required to ensure that every community in Connecticut has the resources they need to combat this pandemic.

“During times like this, it is critical that we come together as a community – as a family – and support our neighbors in this response effort,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut residents and businesses have been incredibly generous in offering to do what they can to meet the needs of our state at this challenging time. Our frontline providers at food banks, meal delivery services, and shelters need extra help right now, and that is why we are asking for more volunteers to step forward. I am grateful to everyone who has already pitched in to support Connecticut families. The way we’ll get through this public health emergency is by working together.”

Volunteers from the general public will be matched with a community provider in need. Here are the basics:

  • Volunteers must be 18 or older, and should not volunteer if at risk or compromised. Those who are immunocompromised, over 60, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or live with or care for someone in any of those categories should avoid being in public, including for volunteer efforts. Please stay safe, stay home.
  • Volunteers do not need to be health care workers. In addition to calling on physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who may be retired, the state needs community members to help out at food banks, food deliveries to the elderly, and at shelters in a number of ways.
  • For those who do have a background in health care, the state’s medical community has specific needs at this time. Hospitals have advised the state that they have a high need for critical care nurses and repository therapists.
  • Every effort is being made to keep volunteers safe. The state and all of the organizations involved are working hard to make sure that everyone helping out can do so as safely as possible. If any volunteers have concerns, they are strongly urged to ask about the safety protocols of the organization they are volunteering.
  • Volunteers will be sent where they are most needed and feel most comfortable. The volunteer process is centralized so that the state and participating organizations have a clear picture of everyone who can help, and everything that is needed. That way, volunteers can be matched with an opportunity that is most in need of that person’s skillset.

The Lamont administration and the State of Connecticut are grateful to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), which has made the Disaster Assistance Response Technology database available to help manage the statewide volunteer effort for this emergency, as well as the Connecticut VOAD chapter for their support.

Those interested in volunteering should visit ct.gov/coronavirus for information on how to register.

For more information, read the press release issued today by Governor Lamont.

Connecticut Labor Department provides updates following number of unemployment benefits applications

The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) has processed more than 90,000 of the over 250,000 unemployment claims filed in less than three weeks by residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of claims recently received far exceeds the amount the agency typically receives in one year.

While the numbers are staggering, they are not unique to Connecticut. Unemployment claims are up in record numbers across the country, and everyone is doing their best to process claims as quickly as possible. Nationwide, approximately 6,648,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims were filed for the week ending March 28, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

“The agency is working diligently to serve its residents and appreciates the public’s patience as it works to process the thousands of claims that have been filed as a result of the pandemic,” Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “We want to let people know that although it will take some time, all eligible claims will be processed, paid, and retroactive to the date they were filed.”

Agency employees are working overtime and weekends to ensure benefits are paid as quickly as possible. Westby said the estimated backlog is approximately five weeks. More than 80 employees are processing claims – a significant increase from the 20 typically processing new applications – and additional staff will continue to be trained to assist in the upcoming days and weeks.

To speed up the processing of their claims, unemployed residents who have not yet filed should:

  • Visit www.filectui.com
  • Click the link that says “For quicker payment of unemployment benefit, please follow these instructions”
  • Information will be provided on filing claims as a “Temporary Shutdown” option and provide guidance on entering a return to work date.

For residents that have already filed a claim, Westby noted that it is very important they check their email (including junk and spam folders) daily for updated messages from CTDOL. Messages may include next steps or a request that claimants log back onto their claim since following these instructions will help speed up processing.

For additional information read the list of Frequently Asked Questions the agency created related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the CARES Act that was approved by Congress last week, CTDOL is also tasked with administering several federal stimulus unemployment benefit programs. The agency is fortunate to be part of the ReEmployUSA five-state consortium made up of Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Although the state joined the consortium to build a new benefits system more quickly, it is now lending its expertise to help develop necessary programming that will provide the federal benefit programs more quickly.

“Our employees appreciate the support we have received from the public, the Governor’s Office, and other agencies, including technical support from BEST and human resource help from the Department of Administrative Services. The agency has helped people survive economic recessions, but this is the first pandemic we have faced when providing unemployment benefits. We know bills need to be paid and how important it is to provide this economic lifeline to our residents.”

State reminds businesses that small businesses can apply for federal assistance under the recently adopted CARES Act

Governor Lamont, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman, and Department of Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez are encouraging small businesses and sole proprietors to reach out directly to their banks and credit unions to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program was recently created by Congress as part of the CARES Act to respond to the nationwide COVID-19 crisis.

Administered by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), the program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses that keep all their employees on the payroll for eight weeks and can use the money for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Seventy-five percent of the money must be used for payroll.

Businesses and sole proprietorships should contact their banks and credit unions directly to access the loans. They should also closely review the information and application form for borrowers on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website prior to contacting their banks and credit unions. This will help identify the documents needed to collected and present during the application process.

Commissioner Perez is reminding those involved that since this is a brand new program that is still under development by the federal government, it may take a bit longer than anticipated as the first several days are expected to be very busy.

Additional information about PPP can be read on SBA’s website.

Providing information to Connecticut residents

For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.