COVID-19 Update June 1 & 2, 2020

June 2, 2020

Below you will find important updates for June 1 & 2, including funding for crisis counseling in Connecticut, deadlines approaching for residents who lost health insurance due to job loss to qualify for coverage through Access Health CT and more.

For detailed information click HERE.

Follow the link above to watch the Governor's press conference in its entirety.

Governor Lamont signs 49th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the 49th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus. Executive Order No. 7VV enacts the following provisions:

  • Amended limitation on program sizes in child care: Modifies the number of children that a child care program can serve during the civil preparedness and public health emergency from 30 to 50 without needing to obtain approval from the Office of Early Childhood. Any facility caring for more than 50 children will need to obtain approval.

 

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7VV

FEMA approves funding for crisis counseling in Connecticut

Governor Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide crisis counseling to those who have been impacted by COVID-19. This program will be administered by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in cooperation with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. A federal grant of $669,404 will be utilized by the state to provide the following services:

  • Crisis counseling to persons experiencing homelessness who are in shelters, hotels, and in the community, as well as staff in these facilities;
  • Crisis counseling to senior citizens in congregate care settings and the community; and
  • Enhancement of crisis counseling call-line services provided through United Way 2-1-1.

The funding will also be used to develop a statewide advertising and media campaign, including social media outreach for the purpose of linking victim families to needed resources, as well as provide psychological first aid support and stress management tips.

Additional emergency SNAP benefits being delivered June 18 to more than 108,000 households in Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Social Services today announced that it will provide $16.3 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to nearly half of Connecticut’s SNAP participants on Friday, June 12, 2020. This is in addition to the $50.2 million in emergency benefits disbursed in April and May.

Authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, the extra food benefits will go to more than 108,000 households in the state that are not currently receiving the maximum benefits allowed for their household size. This means that all households in enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum food benefit allowable for their household size, even if they are not usually eligible for the maximum benefit.

Specifically:

  • The Department of Social Services expects that more than 108,000 of the 222,000 households enrolled in SNAP in Connecticut will receive the emergency benefits in June.
  • With this additional $16.3 million allocation, emergency SNAP benefits are totaling over $66.5 million in additional assistance statewide during April, May, and June, with commensurate spending in the food economy.
  • The average emergency benefit amount a household will see on its electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card on June 12 is $150.
  • All participating households will also receive their normal SNAP benefits on the first three days of each month as they normally do, according to last name.

Emergency benefits will allow each household’s SNAP benefit to increase to the maximum allotment for a household of that size as follows:

Household size

Maximum Benefit Amount

1

$194

2

$355

3

$509

4

$646

5

$768

6

$921

7

$1,018

8

$1,164

(Each additional person: add $146)

For example, if a household of two would normally receive $255 of SNAP benefits in June, $100 would bring this household up to the maximum benefit for its size.This household would receive a $100 emergency benefit on June 12.

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June 1, Executive Order and other updates:

Governor Lamont signs 48th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the 48th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus. Executive Order No. 7UU enacts the following provisions:

  • Mandatory COVID-19 testing for staff of private and municipal nursing homes, residential communities and assisted living agencies: Requires all staff of these facilities to be tested for COVID-19 weekly for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  • Determination of suitable work: Allows the Connecticut Department of Labor to consider, when determining a worker’s eligibility for unemployment benefits, whether COVID-19 means returning to work would pose an unreasonable risk to the health of a member of that worker’s household.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7UU

Deadlines approaching for residents who lost health insurance due to job loss to qualify for coverage through Access Health CT

Connecticut residents who may have lost their jobs from a furlough or layoff within the last two months must act quickly if they would like to enroll in health care coverage through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance marketplace.

In general, people who lost health insurance due to a job loss have 60 days to apply for coverage through Access Health CT, as that job loss is considered a “Qualifying Life Event.” This means that the deadline to enroll for anyone who lost their jobs in April is approaching fast.

To help residents maintain qualify and affordable health care coverage, Access Health CT recommends comparing options on AccessHealthCT.com to COBRA coverage, as the marketplace may offer a better, less expensive choice, and is the only place where people can qualify for financial help to lower their costs.

Access Health CT is working closely with the Connecticut Department of Labor and other entities to reach out to businesses that are in the process of reducing their workforce.

For more information, read the press release issued today by Access Health CT.

Online purchasing of food with SNAP benefits begins June 2 and 3

The Department of Social Services today announced that recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will be able to purchase food online from participating retailers in Connecticut beginning Tuesday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 3. SNAP enrollees will be able to use their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to purchase eligible food items online for delivery or curbside pickup.

Retailers approved for the initial launch of online SNAP purchasing are Amazon (including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh), 12 Walmart stores (click here for a list), and 22 ShopRite stores (click here for a list).

Online SNAP purchasing will begin on June 2 at Walmart in Cromwell and Manchester beginning at 3:00 a.m., ShopRite in Canton and Waterbury beginning at 5:30 a.m., and Amazon beginning at 2:00 p.m. All other participating stores will launch online SNAP purchasing on June 3.

Online contact points for the stores are www.amazon.com/snapebtwww.walmart.com/grocery; and www.shoprite.com/Store-Locator.

Only SNAP benefits on EBT cards can be used for online purchases. At this time, cash assistance benefits on EBT cards cannot be used for any part of online shopping, including shopping, delivery, or service fees. Federal rules do not allow any SNAP benefits to be used for shopping, delivery, or service fees, but some food retailers may choose to waive fees (as Amazon does for orders over $35). Online shopping customers using SNAP benefits will be able to use other debit or credit cards to pay for any fees or non-SNAP-eligible items they wish to purchase.

For more information about SNAP benefits in Connecticut, visit www.ct.gov/snap.

Connecticut Department of Housing announces federal approval of CARES Act dollars

The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) today announced that it has gained approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the federal dollars the state agency is receiving from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that will be utilized for housing issues. DOH was awarded $8.1 million in CDBG-CV funding and $8.1 million in ESG-CV funding. This is the first tranche of federal dollars that DOH was awarded under the CARES Act.

Eligible activities under CDBG-CV include – but are not limited to – making interim improvements on private properties to enable an individual patient to remain quarantined on a temporary basis; providing test diagnosis or services at a fixed or mobile location and providing equipment necessary to carry out the public service; and delivering meals on wheels to quarantined individuals or individuals that need to maintain social distancing due to medical vulnerabilities.

ESG-CV eligible activities include – but are not limited to – the expansion of rapid rehousing, expansion of shelter operations, establishing an eviction prevention program, and utilizing monies for telehealth. DOH has oversight of most of the homeless shelters in the state. This federal funding will assist DOH’s ongoing efforts of moving homeless individuals from hotels into permanent housing.

“I’m pleased to continue our collaboration with HUD as we respond to the ongoing pandemic and develop a long-term strategy to deal with its effects,” Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said. “My highest praise goes to our frontline partners that serve the public admirably and remain flexible when adapting to shifting priorities. This first tranche of funds will be an added boost to our operations.”

“HUD is pleased to work with the Connecticut Department of Housing,” David Tille, HUD’s Regional Administrator for New England, said. “As our largest grantee, they are in the best position to work with our partners on the frontlines to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus with these CARES Act funds. We are confident that they will successfully use these funds to meet the urgent and complex challenges faced by our communities.”

Attorney General Tong, Connecticut State Police release public service announcement encouraging residents to fact check COVID-19 information

Attorney General William Tong and the Connecticut State Police today released a public service announcement encouraging residents to fact check the information they receive about the COVID-19 pandemic and beware of scam artists who are attempting to spread false information.

The public service announcement can be watched on Attorney General Tong’s YouTube channel.

Complaints of scams can be filed on the website of the Office of the Attorney General.

For more information, read the press release issued today by Attorney General Tong and the Connecticut State Police.

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.