State Capitol Update for the Week of June 29July 2, 2020
In this particular moment, when Pride Month, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community’s ability to live their true lives with love and freedom, has just ended, and the festivities around Fourth of July are about to begin, I found myself thinking a lot about that freedom: what it means, and how we achieve it.
A friend sent me a link to The Chicks (former known as The Dixie Chicks) new song and video, March March. (If you’re a Chicks fan, or even if you’re not, I recommend you give it a watch- click here to check it out).
We are pretty big fans of The (Dixie) Chicks in my house, and have logged a lot of time belting their songs out of car windows on road trips, so that was an irresistible lure. The song, as you can imagine, is about the many marches that are taking place today, their roots in social movements that preceded them, and how change begins with an “army of one.” There is a lyric in the song that says:
Lies are truth and truth is fiction
Everybody’s talkin; who’s gonna listen?
There is a lot of noise these days, in social media in particular, but no good change happens unless we take the time, and discipline, to listen. I look back at the narrowness of the Ohio town I grew up in, where if you didn’t fit the dominant mold, you were ostracized. I look back on that narrowness with regret, for the people wounded, for the lives constrained, and for what was lost by not valuing the richness of learning from people whose lives were different than our own. Freedom is not about oppressing others, it’s about opening our eyes and hearts, listening, and creating change together.
We associate our country’s birthday as an act of freedom, and another way to celebrate that birthday is by voting. Yesterday I received my application to apply for an absentee ballot for the upcoming primary election in August: please be on the lookout for yours and remember that any eligible voter who wishes to vote by absentee in August may do so.
I wish you all a Happy 4th of July weekend. I hope you get the chance to eat lots of fresh local food. Please be safe, and take care of your pets who don’t love fireworks as much as we do.
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
- Governor Lamont signs Executive Order No. 7EEE (re DSS funding and continuing education for plumbers and electricians)
- Regional travel advisory updated to include eight additional states
- CT Judicial Branch Continues to Expand Court Operations
- Connecticorps service opportunity for young adults
- Celebrate the Fourth of July with Connecticut Grown Food
- Fourth of July pet safety tips
- Nuvance Health COVID-19 testing update
- Single-use plastic bag fee returns
- UConn Reopening plans
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”
Governor Lamont signs Executive Order No. 7EEE enacting the following provisions:
· Authorization for DSS to provide funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to additional providers: Authorizes the Department of Social Services to distribute funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to other types of health care institutions in addition to nursing homes, which was previously authorized.
· Online continuing education for plumbers and electricians: Allows continuing education classes for electricians and plumbers to be conducted online.
Regional travel advisory updated to include eight additional states
The regional travel advisory between Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York that went into effect last week and directs incoming travelers from states with a significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period was updated today and now includes 8 additional states for a total of 16. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
As of today, the states meeting the high-positivity criteria include:
· North Carolina
· South Carolina
This list will be updated on a regular basis as the situation develops across the country. For more information on the travel advisory, click here.
CT Judicial Branch Continues to Expand Court Operations
Effective Monday, July 20, the Judicial Branch is planning to resume some court operations in the following eight courthouse locations:
· Geographical Area No. 2 courthouse at 172 Golden Hill St. in Bridgeport;
· The Community Court and Housing Sessions courthouse at 80 Washington St. in Hartford;
· The Judicial District at Meriden courthouse at 54 W. Main St. in Meriden;
· The Judicial District at Norwich courthouse at 1 Courthouse Square in Norwich;
· The Judicial District at Waterbury courthouse at 300 Grand St. in Waterbury;
· The Judicial District at Hartford courthouse at 95 Washington St. in Hartford;
· The Judicial District at Tolland courthouse at 69 Brooklyn St. in Rockville;
· The Judicial District courthouse at 90 Washington St. in Hartford.
This expansion of operations will bring the number of courthouses where operations are currently being conducted to 25.
Connecticorps service and summer employment opportunity for young adults
Governor Ned Lamont, in partnership with the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, announced the launch of ConnectiCorps, a new community service program set to launch in August that will help address the growing demand on essential services provided by Connecticut’s nonprofits in the areas of food security, housing, and antipoverty assistance.
An AmeriCorps program, it will offer an opportunity for high-impact service in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and will provide a modest income and a stipend for higher-education costs for young adults in Connecticut. ConnectiCorps is funded by a significant grant from the Hartford Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and an AmeriCorps state and federal grant approved by Serve Connecticut (the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, which is part of the Connecticut Office of Higher Education).
ConnectiCorps members will serve at nonprofits across the state with a focus on the greater Hartford region. In particular, the program will seek to recruit members who live in the community they wish to serve. This approach will strengthen the bond between the community and its residents, while helping to address one of the most catastrophic public health events in history.
ConnectiCorps quick facts:
· ConnectiCorps will place 60 to 80 part-time members, who will provide between 70,000 and 90,000 total hours of service at up to 20 nonprofit sites.
· Members will receive a modest stipend and mileage reimbursement, and will be eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of their service year, which can be used to repay qualified student loans or offset current tuition costs at eligible institutions of higher education and training programs.
· Members will be provided with uniforms, hand sanitizer, COVID-safety training and PPE to ensure safe and consistent service.
· Duties of members will include: reviewing/updating host-site COVID-19 safety protocols, deploying creative approaches to safely recruit and retain volunteers, and providing temporary direct service relief for operations at host site.
The Governor welcomes the participation of additional philanthropic organizations in the ConnectiCorps program to increase the reach of this critical program, as more funding would mean additional service hours and more communities served.
For more information about ConnectiCorps, please visit the Alliance's website at ctnonprofitalliance.org.
Celebrate the Fourth of July with Connecticut Grown food
This Fourth of July, celebrate Connecticut’s independent businesses, including farmers, farm stands, and farmers’ markets, with a Connecticut Grown cookout or picnic. As we acknowledge our freedom and independence as a nation, it’s important to pause to recognize the efforts of our agricultural producers who work hard throughout the year to provide us with a stable food supply.
Consumers have a wide variety of Connecticut Grown products to choose from including cherries, raspberries, and blueberries, plus tomatoes, lettuces, beets and the start of sweet corn. Connecticut’s coastline is home to an abundance of seafood, including oysters and clams, perfect for those who prefer a clambake. If grilling is your specialty, a wide range of meats including beef, pork and chicken for steak, burgers, or wings are stocked and ready for you. Connecticut’s dairy farmers have ice cream, yogurt and of course, milk, to enjoy on these hot summer days. Stop in at a Connecticut farm winery or brewery to enjoy a glass responsibly or buy a bottle to bring home.
For recipes to celebrate this holiday weekend, visit https://www.pinterest.com/GrowCTAg/ and find an open farm stand or market near you at www.CTGrownMap.com.
Fourth of July pet safety tips
Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after Fourth of July festivities.
Here are recommendations from American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/resou…/pet-owners/petcare/july-4-safety
Nuvance Health COVID-19 testing update
Nuvance Health will be transitioning its COVID-19 drive-through specimen collection sites in Connecticut and New York to onsite locations throughout the system in early July.
As part of its emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis, Nuvance Health opened collection sites at Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. Nuvance Health also opened collection sites in New York with Dutchess County at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, and with Ulster County at Tech City in Kingston. Since mid-March, there were over 47,600 total specimens collected at these drive-through sites.
Starting in early July, COVID-19 testing will be available at Nuvance Health Medical Practices’ primary care locations in Connecticut and New York for new or existing patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or patients previously confirmed positive who require clearance to return to work. Patients who want a COVID-19 test are asked to first schedule a Virtual Visit with a primary care clinician. For more information about Virtual Visits, please go to nuvancehealth.org/virtualvisits.
COVID-19 testing will also be available at Nuvance Health Medical Practices’ urgent care centers at the Hudson Valley Mall in the Town of Ulster, on Route 55 in LaGrange, and on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Information on urgent care centers is available here.
Nuvance Health procedural and surgical patients who meet criteria should have a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their procedure or surgery. Their physician or surgeon will let them know if they need a COVID-19 test. COVID-19 testing for procedural and surgical patients will be administered at Nuvance Health hospitals or outpatient locations.
For COVID-19 testing outside of primary care, urgent care, and pre-procedure/pre-surgery, Nuvance Health hospitals or outpatient locations will have some availability for testing by appointment only. Individuals with questions about COVID-19 testing should speak with their healthcare clinician.
Nuvance Health will use a nasal swab to collect specimen samples for a test. A nasal swab is less invasive and causes less patient discomfort when compared to a nasopharyngeal swab. Patients can self-administer the nasal swab, and a healthcare professional will assist those who cannot.
Nuvance Health will decommission the drive-through collection sites on the following days:
- Tech City, Kingston, N.Y.: June 30
- Dutchess Stadium, Fishkill, N.Y.: July 2
- Danbury Hospital, Danbury, Conn.: July 4
- Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, Conn: July 4 (subject to change)
For more information about Nuvance Health COVID-19 testing in Connecticut, please go here.
For more information about Nuvance Health COVID-19 testing in Sharon, Conn., and New York, please go here.
Single-use plastic bag fee returns
Connecticut’s fee for single-use plastic bags, suspended for three months due to the coronavirus, returned on July 1. The 10-cent bag fee, which first went into effect in August as an environmental protection measure, was suspended during the pandemic due to potential health concerns.
According to the State Department of Public Health, reusable bags are not a significant source of infection for COVID-19, and the state encourages their use in order to reduce plastic waste.
UConn Reopening plans
In June, the University of Connecticut posted its draft reopening plans online, and more detailed plans were recently shared and discussed with the UConn Board of Trustees.
UConn will reopen in the fall as planned, with courses being offered in person, online, or as a hybrid of the two. In keeping with state guidelines and gating conditions, very significant safety protocols and modifications will be implemented to help support the health of the community.
Please note that as new information becomes available, the University’s reopening website will be updated.
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.