May 26th COVID-19 Update
Below is an update on the state's COVID-19/coronavirus response efforts from the Office of Governor Lamont:
Testing data by town added to daily updates
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) continues its efforts to provide access to timely information on the COVID-19 pandemic by releasing detailed testing data each day. The State of Connecticut was among the first states to publish data on cases and deaths by town, cases and deaths by race, ethnicity and gender, on persons whose death certificate lists COVID-19 disease as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death (probable), and cases and deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
DPH continues to expand access to data as the pandemic evolves. Daily updates on COVID-19 cases are now available statewide for all 169 towns by date reported, and on total tests and cases by date collected and date reported. Data on testing, cases, hospitalization, and deaths are accessible via daily updates on the state’s COVID-19 portal – ct.gov/coronavirus – and the dedicated COVID-19 section of the state’s open data portal – data.ct.gov/coronavirus. The open data portal includes historical data, as well as the ability for users to download data, create charts, tables, and other visualizations.
Governor Lamont releases Reopen Connecticut report
Governor Lamont Monday released his Reopen Connecticut report, which contains recommendations from the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group – the panel of local health, business, workforce, and education experts who provided his administration and legislative leadership with recommendations on the reopening of Connecticut’s economy and education system as the nation emerges from the unprecedented public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, Governor Lamont has been using the advisory group’s recommendations, combined with inputs from state agency leadership, legislators, and other stakeholders, to inform his decisions on the reopening of the state.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic is complex and rapidly evolving, and that is why I asked a group of people on the ground here in Connecticut – including public health experts, business owners and representatives, education officials, and others – to review how the virus is impacting Connecticut and provide me with recommendations for a safe and appropriate response,” Governor Lamont said. “We learn new things about this virus every day, and as a result, the plans outlined in this report are almost certain to change based on new facts, insights, and breakthroughs both here in our state and around the world, as well as in coordination with our regional partners. But one thing is for sure – the strength, generosity, and resolve I see every day across our state will remain constant. By working together, we can continue to protect the health and safety of our family, friends, and neighbors as we reopen Connecticut. I thank the members of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group for volunteering their time and helping shape these recommendations over the last several weeks, and I thank legislative leaders for working with us throughout this process, providing valuable input to my administration.”
With the release of the governor’s report, the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group has adjourned its activities and will no longer meet, however the governor said he will remain in contact with its members over the coming months as the situation continues to develop.
FEMA approves Connecticut’s request to extend services for non-congregate housing
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the Lamont administration’s request to provide an extension for its non-congregate housing programs until July 2, 2020. This vital program, which was approved by FEMA in March, provides non-congregate housing to vulnerable individuals that have COVID-19 or have been in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals. It provides the state and its municipalities with a 75 percent reimbursement of all eligible costs associated with this housing. The program includes non-congregate housing for:
- Those at high risk of exposure in public service;
- Individuals in at-risk facilities such as group homes, nursing homes, long-term care sites, and alternative care facilities;
- First responders and health care workers who have been exposed and cannot return home;
- Homeless individuals in congregate shelters; and
- Individuals in domestic violence shelters.
Connecticut’s implementation of this program has been highlighted as a best practice by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
Department of Revenue Services continues to provide taxpayer assistance during pandemic
The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is reminding residents that the agency continues to provide taxpayer assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
- Priority One Assistance Program: The Priority One Assistance Program offers assistance to businesses and individuals who have an existing collection matter with DRS. The new program, which was created to facilitate assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, connects taxpayers with a DRS professional, who will assist in developing a workable solution. Taxpayers seeking assistance can call 860-541-7650 on Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or can send an email to DRSPriorityOne_CollectionsAssist@po.state.ct.us.
- File electronically: Filing and payment deadlines for Connecticut individual income tax returns have been extended until July 15, 2020. The easiest way to file - and the fastest way to receive a refund - is through online filing, including via the DRS Taxpayer Service Center, which is easy, secure, and free to use. Since Connecticut's individual income tax return begins with federal adjusted gross income, it is often beneficial to complete one's federal income tax return first. Taxpayers who file a paper tax return will experience longer processing times for refunds. DRS strongly encourages taxpayers and tax professionals to file electronically.
- Helpful information on the DRS website: The DRS website – portal.ct.gov/DRS – includes answers to many questions, and a Frequently Asked Questions page that is updated regularly. Taxpayers who need to contact DRS may email DRS@po.state.ct.us. To reach DRS by phone during normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) call 860-297-5962 (from anywhere); 800-382-9463 (within Connecticut, outside Greater Hartford area only); or 860-297-4911 (TDD/TT users only).
Governor Lamont encourages residents to sign up for the state’s CTAlert notification system
Governor Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
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. Relay services can be accessed by calling 7-1-1. Anyone who is out-of-state or using Relay can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 toll free by dialing 1-800-203-1234. The hotline is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms are strongly urged to contact their medical provider.