There were 41 COVID-19 deaths reported since yesterday, bringing the death toll to 6,594; hospitalizations declined by 20 to total 1,098, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
Residents testing positive for the virus totaled 223,422 an increase of 1,878 since yesterday’s report. The state reported 4,867,707 tests completed, up 30,303. The state’s positivity rate is 6.20%.
For a county-by-county breakdown of cases, go here and click on “Daily Data Report.”
Go here for the most up-to-date state information.
COVID Vaccine – Update
People age 75 and older can now register for an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, as part of the state’s phase 1B rollout plan, the governor announced Thursday (Jan. 14).
All eligible residents are required to make an appointment in advance of receiving the vaccine, using the following tools:
• Healthcare Provider: Many residents have already been or will be contacted to schedule an appointment by their health care provider if their provider is participating in the state’s vaccine program. Not all providers are administering the vaccine. A list of participating providers is available at ct.gov/covidvaccine.
• Online: A form can be accessed online at ct.gov/covidvaccine that allows individuals to schedule an appointment through the web-based Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).
• Telephone: Those without internet access can call Connecticut’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Assistance Line at 877-918-2224.
Yale New Haven Health launched its registration website Thursday. You can register for your vaccination at this link: https://www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19/vaccine/get-your-covid-vaccine.aspx
Hartford HealthCare launched its vaccine registration portal Wednesday at hartfordhealthcare.org/vaccine
According to a press release, people in the 75+ age group with an existing MyChartPlus account can log in and make an appointment at a Hartford HealthCare vaccine clinic. If they do not have a MyChartPlus account, it is simple to set one up on Hartford HealthCare’s MyChartPlus.org website, the press release said. Appointments are required. Walk-ins are not allowed. Hartford HealthCare’s hotline where people can ask questions about MyChart: 860-972-4993 or email: MyCHARTPLUSsupport@hhchealth.org
After people 75 and older have been vaccinated, next in line are:
• Residents who are 65 years and older;
• Residents aged 16 to 64 who have at least one high-risk co-morbid condition such as cancer, diabetes, or Down Syndrome;
• Teachers, grocery store and other essential workers;
• People living on congregate settings, such as prisons and group homes.
Earlier this week, Patrick Charmel, president and CEO of Griffin Hospital in Derby, said that the hospital will use existing patient relationships, work with lower Naugatuck Valley social service agencies and community-based networks to contact residents aged 75 and older. The hospital will operate a vaccination site in Shelton on Progress Drive.
Below is the latest vaccine update (Jan. 14).
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two shots administered three weeks apart. In Connecticut, health care workers, medical first-responders and nursing home residents are receiving the first doses. You can read the state’s complete vaccination plan here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/covid-19%20vaccinations
The Science Subcommittee of the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group came up with the plan on distribution. You can read the full report submitted to the governor here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/News/20201212-Science-Subcommittee-Recommendation-on-Pfizer-BioNTech-Vaccine.pdf
On Dec. 8, the Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said that there is no out-of-pocket costs for those insured in Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant fully-insured plans and all self-funded plans.
“Along with all fully insured plans, employer-based plan sponsors must remove all cost-sharing for COVID-19 vaccines for their workers and their families, and anyone without insurance is also eligible for no-cost COVID-19 vaccines,” Mais said in a press release.
Public health officials on Jan. 7 confirmed the first two cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 were detected in New Haven County. This is the same variant initially discovered in the United Kingdom.
The two individuals are between the ages of 15 and 25 and both had recently traveled outside Connecticut – one to Ireland and the other to New York State – and both developed symptoms within 3 to 4 days of their return, the governor said in a press release.
State Rollback Restrictions Still In Effect
As of Nov. 6, the state rolled back some restrictions to contain the spread of COVID, including limiting outdoor and indoor private gatherings to 10 people.
Under these new restrictions:
• Restaurants are limited to 50% capacity indoors; maximum of 6 people per table and must close dining rooms by 10 p.m. Takeout and delivery is allowed after 9:30 p.m.
• Event venues are limited to 25 indoors, 50 outdoors.
• Performing arts and movie theaters maximum capacity 100 people.
• Personal services, such as hairdressers and barber shops, remain at 75% capacity.
• Religious gatherings must adhere to a 50% capacity, or a maximum of 100 people. Virtual services are encouraged.
DPH issued a statewide public health advisory urging residents to limit any non-essential trips outside the home between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in order to reduce the risk of the transmissions of the virus. Essential workers are exempt from the advisory.
$10,000 Fine For Violating COVID Rules
Businesses that violate COVID restrictions can be fined $10,000 per violation, per Gov. Lamont. The fines can be issued by local health directors or other municipal employees.
Other penalties that remain in effect include:
• $100 for not wearing a mask in public;
• $500 for organizing a gathering exceeding recommended size limits;
• $250 for attending an event that exceeds recommended size limits.
The state rolled out its new contact tracing app. You can learn about it and sign up here: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/covidalertCT/homepage
Community Hot Spots
166 cities and towns are now designated as COVID-19 “hotspot communities” (shaded in red on map).
For the week of Jan. 6-12, there were 85 new deaths in nursing homes. There were 312 new cases reported, including 37 at Douglas Manor in Windham. Among nursing home staff, for the week of Jan. 6-12, there were no staff deaths reported for the 19th week in a row. New cases among staff totaled . Se250e the full report here.
For assisted living facilities, there were 5 deaths reported for the week of Jan. 6-12. You can view the full report here.
Starting Nov. 1, nursing homes, assisted living and managed care facilities must test staff on a weekly basis, DPH ordered. This is the same policy that the state had in place in the Spring and later changed.
Lawmakers and health officials are forming a panel to review regulations that govern nursing homes. The panel will examine whether the state should put in place legal requirements for staffing levels, testing, among other issues, CTMirror reported.
In September, C-HIT reported on plummeting occupancy rates in nursing homes. You can read our report here: http://c-hit.org/2020/09/16/pandemic-deals-another-blow-to-nursing-homes-plummeting-occupancy/
In September, DPH ordered the closure of Three Rivers Healthcare Center in Norwich. The order came weeks after an infection-control inspection by DPH found the facility to be in “immediate jeopardy,” meaning the violations were serious enough to risk immediate harm to residents. The 60 residents were moved to other nursing homes, according to a report in the New London Day.
Mathematica Nursing Home Report
An examination of the state’s response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities recently found that state officials were so focused on the virus’s potential impact on hospitals that they largely neglected guidance from nursing home officials early in the pandemic.
“Early planning and response efforts focused on hospital capacity, with nursing homes viewed primarily as a backstop to alleviate high demand for acute care beds,” the report found.
The report, prepared by Mathematica Inc. at the request of the state, looked at the state’s response as the coronavirus tore through nursing homes in the spring and early summer. According to the report, 72% of the state’s 4,432 deaths as of July 30, 2020, were residents of long-term care facilities.
Mathematica, working with the UConn Center on Aging, interviewed 132 people from July 27 to Sept. 10, including state agency staff, facility administrators, trade association representatives, labor representatives, legislators, direct care staff working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, family members of residents, and advocacy groups.
Among the report’s recommendations:
- Place full-time infection control experts in nursing homes.
- Increase minimum required staffing levels.
- Ensure that all nursing home staff have access to appropriate PPE.
- Explore ways to reduce duplicate case reporting to reduce the risk of data errors.
Read the full report here.
New Visitation Policy At Nursing Homes
Indoor visits are now allowed at nursing homes as long as there has been no new onset of COVID cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing, DPH announced on Sept. 28. Indoor visits will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among a resident or staff, DPH said in its order.
DPH said that facilities can limit the number of visitors per resident and can limit visitor movement inside facilities. You can read DPH’s order here: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/20200925-DPH-Order-rescinding-restrictions-on-visitors-in-nursing-homes-residential-care-homes-and-c.pdf
Traveler Quarantine Measures – Revised
Effective Dec. 19, travelers from “hot spot” states must self-quarantine for 10 days, instead of 14, OR produce a negative COVID-19 test result. They must also complete a form upon entry to CT. The form asks for their name, date of birth, state of origin, how long they will stay in CT and where they will be staying. The form also asks for contact information. Forms are available at ct.gov/travelform.
Essential workers traveling on business remain exempt from these requirements.
Also exempt is a traveler who has tested positive for Covid-19 within 90 days prior of arrival to the state and has recovered and submitted a negative test result to the commissioner of the public health.
As of Dec. 15, there were no changes to the travel advisory list. New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island are exempt from the list because of its “interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between the states,” the governor said recently.
Those above the threshold are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the territories of U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Rules For Gyms, Fitness Centers
On Nov. 20, the governor signed an executive order that includes requiring patrons at gyms and fitness centers to wear masks, “with no exceptions.”
Below are the rules for fitness centers. Each facility is issuing its own rules, based on the guidelines:
Below are guidelines for libraries:
The governor’s Reopen Connecticut report outlines the steps being taken to ensure a safe reopening of the state, including a ramp up of testing, sufficient contact tracing and an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.
The guidelines for businesses are:
• Strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in all settings.
• Those who can work from home should continue to do so.
• Those in high-risk groups (co-morbidities) and those over the age of 65 should continue to stay safe and stay home.
• Face masks should continue to be worn in public at all times.
You can file a complaint against a business that you feel is in violation of COVID-19 safety rules here.
Go here for the most up-to-date state information.
Below are the guidelines used by the state to safely reopen schools for in-person learning.
Information is available here.
The state released a more detailed plan on reopening in late June. You can read the 50-page plan here: https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2020/Adapt-Advance-Achieve
Each district designed their own reopen plan. The state recommendations include:
• Grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
• Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.
• Reviewing building space and making use of available rooms, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.
Mental Health Services
On Aug. 27, the state provided information on services available to state residents who are feeling stressed during the pandemic. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, outlined the services and programs that are available to help. Below is a chart of some services provided:
Housing And Rental Assistance
On Dec. 23, Lamont extended the moratorium on evictions through Feb. 9, 2021; banned evictions until Jan. 2, 2021; and renewed the option to apply a portion of security deposits in excess of one month’s rent toward rent. In September, Lamont doubled the rental assistance relief program from $20 million to $40 million. The program provides up to $4,000 to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applications. The assistance program is funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund and provides payments to landlords on behalf of approved tenant applicants. Interested tenants can learn more on the state Department of Housing website or by calling 1-860-785-3111 during regular business hours.
NEED A TEST?
A number of hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers are offering COVID-19 testing. If you need a test go to 211.ct.org to find a location near you. https://www.211ct.org/
After receiving criticism from governors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week rolled back its new guidelines on who should be tested for COVID-19. The CDC is now saying that people who come into contact with confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients could be tested, even if they do not show symptoms of the virus. Earlier this week, the CDC had recommended that testing was not necessary for people who have been exposed to the virus but have no symptoms.
Connecticut encourages anyone exposed to the virus to seek a free COVID-19 test.
Financial Help For Undocumented Families
The state will be giving $2.5 million to about 2,500 undocumented families to help cover the cost of rent.
The funding will be supplemented by $1 million from 4-CT, a philanthropic organization created to provide emergency funds during the pandemic. The program is designed to provide rental assistance to people who are ineligible for similar aid by the federal CARES Act. The state Department of Housing will administer the program, which is under development.
There are approximately 140,000 undocumented people living in Connecticut, making up 3.8% of the population and representing 4.9% of the workforce, according to the governor’s press release. Approximately 190,000 people, including 60,000 children, live in households where there is at least one undocumented person, the press release said.
Feeling anxious or depressed? You can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut (NAMI-CT) hotline at 860.882.0236. Workers are available to talk live, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
NAMI Connecticut offers more than 70 FREE, confidential support groups across the state that are peer-led. They are facilitated by people who have experience with mental health issues. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the support groups have moved online: https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/
A virtual Family Support Group is held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.; visit https://namict.org/find-support/support-groups/ for details.
The World Health Organization has information here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
John Hopkins University & Medicine’s experts in global public health and infectious diseases has compiled a website to help advance the understanding of COVID-19. View the website, which includes an interactive map of cases worldwide: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, the CDC recommends calling your doctor.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has a forecasting model of COVID-19 cases here.