x
Breaking News
More () »

FOX 61 | Connecticut breaking news, weather, traffic, sports and social media

COVID-19 Updates: Nearly 2,000 cases confirmed in state

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak in Connecticut as we work together to separate facts from fear.

Key Facts: 

  • Nearly 2,000 cases confirmed in state
  • Norwalk to close parks, beaches, reduce occupancy rates
  • New Haven to close playgrounds
  • Old Lyme announces first case
  • ProHealth Express Care Walk-in Centers closed
  • First case detected in Ellington and North Branford
  • Governor Lamont announced that Connecticut's Major Disaster Declaration has been approved, allowing additional federal assistance programs for the state.
  • Map released by the state to track numbers town by town

March 29

Nearly 2,000 cases confirmed in state

According to Gov. Lamont's office, an additional 469 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,993. To date, more than 11,900 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 404 people have been hospitalized. There has been another fatality due to complications of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total number of fatalities to 34 (21 in Fairfield County, in New Haven County, 4 in Tolland County, 2 in Hartford County, and 1 in Middlesex County).

"It should be noted that the increase in hospitalizations reflected in today's report reflects a change to provide the most up-to-date information from the Connecticut Hospital Association. The distribution by county is based on where hospitals are located, not where patients reside."

Norwalk to close parks, beaches, reduce occupancy rates

Norwalk Mayor Harry Riling announced that as of Monday evening, he will order parks and beaches in the city to be closed and reduce occupancy of commercial buildings by 50%. Also only one person per family will be allowed to shop at a time. 

“I’ve asked nicely and implored the public to practice physical distancing and to treat this public health crisis seriously. Unfortunately, many in our community are taking this too lightly. In the last 24 hours, we’ve had a 60 percent increase in cases and we now have over 200 positive cases. Extreme measures are necessary,” Mayor Rilling said. “These are drastic measures, but it is the only way we can slow this pandemic. Our health care system is going to be overloaded and that means more people getting sick and more people dying – not just from coronavirus, but from heart attacks, strokes, and other serious medical issues that require attention.”

Bridgeport to use Webster Bank Arena for hospital overflow

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announced Sunday that he approved the Emergency Plan with the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Management to stage Webster Bank Arena as the site for hospital overflow. The activation of this plan will provide hospitals in Connecticut with an Alternate Care Site for patients if there is a surge, or patient overflow due to Coronavirus.

The Alternate Care Site at the Arena will be equipped with 128 beds and various medical equipment to care for ambulatory or mild symptomatic patients. The City of Bridgeport Emergency Management reports that we can expect to see the arrival of equipment to the Arena by this Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

New Haven has 71 cases, plans to close playgrounds

Mayor Justin Elicker announced that there are now 71 case in the city. 

Elicker said the city would move to close playgrounds at parks and city schools to discourage crowds. He said the parks would remain open. 

There are several people in the fire and police departments that area awaiting test results.

ProHealth Express Care Walk-in Centers closed

All ProHealth Express Care Walk-in Centers centers are temporarily closed. "This allows our clinicians and staff to provide care at other ProHealth Physicians locations.

"If you need care, call us at 1-888-344-0007. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest ER.

Ellington Announces First Confirmed Positive Case of COVID-19 

The first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in an Ellington resident was reported to the North Central District Health Department Sunday. 

The individual is between 50-59 years of age. This person has not been hospitalized and has not been in a long-term care facility.

North Branford confirms first case

Sunday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 for a North Branford resident. The individual is female and between the age of 60 and 70 years old.

Governor Ned Lamont says Major Disaster Declaration has been approved.

In a press release, Governor Lamont said that this approval is for public assistance, meaning that impacted state agencies and municipalities in all eight counties will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the costs associated with their response and emergency protective measures.

The governor’s other request for disaster assistance, including individual assistance that could provide Connecticut residents with a number of critical benefits, such as expanded unemployment assistance, food benefits, and child care assistance, remains under review by the White House.

In an official statement, Governor Lamont said, “I am grateful that the federal government is recognizing the severity of this pandemic in Connecticut and the impact it is having on the health and safety of the people of our state. It is an important step in providing critical aid in our communities.” 

March 27

Hartford Police called to local barbershop

A barbershop was visited by police and Hartford Health and Human Services Friday. Police said the shop was open for business with employees and customers inside. 

Third DOC employee tests positive for COVID-19 

The DOC made the announcement Friday that another employee had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The employee works at Hartford Correction Center. They were last in the building on March 19.

The DOC said that the employee was working both second and third shift at a Manchester Memorial Hospital. While working the third shift, the employee developed a fever and was sent home. They were advised to call their doctor. 

The DOC notified Manchester Memorial Hospital of their employee testing positive for COVID-19. The employee told the DOC on March 27. 

Governor Lamont announces CT Rail to operate on a reduced schedule

The reduced schedule will begin Monday, March 30. The New Haben line will operate hourly with extra trains during peak. The Hartford Line will operate on a new weekday schedule, while shoreline east will continue on a schedule seven days a week. 

For more information, click here

Recovery Bridge Loan program paused

At 6 p.m. Friday, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development will stop accepting applications for the first round of the state's Recovery Bridge Loan program.

According to Commissioner David Lehman, DECD has received over 4,000 applications since the program's launch Thursday.

Along with its partners, DECD is doubling the funding in the program to $50 million.

Lehman said it was prudent to hit pause and stop taking applications so the current queue can be processed and much-needed money gets out the doors as quickly as possible. 

Hartford HealthCare media briefing

Hartford HealthCare officials announced Friday that within their system, a total of 49 COVID-19 positive patients are being treated. Over 30 patients are awaiting testing.

According to Dr. Ajay Kumar, the state of Connecticut can expect to see a peak in coronavirus' impact next month. 

Data put together by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that deaths per day, the total number of deaths and hospital resource use will peak around April 11-14.

When asked if that was the same projection model Hartford HealthCare was seeing, Dr. Kumar said the date was "realistic," but social distancing is one important factor that will determine the state's peak.

"Social distancing is being followed very well, I hope it continues and that is my concern, he said. "If it changes in the next several weeks, we might actually have a peak, which is the projecting April 11 and 14, actually happens later on and the number goes up further. So, our modeling will go quite wrong at that time," said Dr. Kumar.

Additionally, Dr. Kumar says Hartford HealthCare has begun testing for COVID-19 in house and several hundred tests have been administered daily.

Some residents throughout the state, however, do not have insurance and have been worried if that will affect their ability to be tested.

"I would advise viewers to not have that rationale at the moment in thinking." Dr. Kumar said. "We are here to support. This is the time for the community to come together and not think about insurance."

House passes $2.2T rescue package 

Acting swiftly in an extraordinary time, the House rushed President Donald Trump a $2.2 trillion rescue package Friday, tossing a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

The House approved the sweeping measure by a voice vote, as strong majorities of both parties lined up behind the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history.. More >>

March 26

Wethersfield DMV office to close March 27 for extra cleaning

The DMV announced that the building will be closed to allow a "deep electrostatic disinfectant treatment." The building will be reopened to the employees on March 31. 

Please visit https://www.ctdmv.info to view a complete list of available services, and status updates pertaining to the DMV and its partner locations.

Patient at Connecticut Valley Hospital tests positive for COVID-19 

The Department of mental Health and Addiction Services announced that one of their clients tested positive for the virus. 

“My thoughts are with this patient and their family; I wish them a quick and full recovery,” said DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon. “We continue to remain vigilant in maintaining an environment that is healthy and safe.  Hospital staff are dedicated to caring for the physical and mental health of our patients and to providing the highest quality of care through this public health crisis.” 

The person is currently a patient in the General Psychiatry Division of CVH. Their family has been notified. 

DMHAS has taken steps to protect clients and staff from COVID-19. 

These include:

·         Adjusting outpatient services while promoting social distancing including telephone check-ins and closing wellness centers and social clubs;

·         Restricting visitors from DMHAS facilities;

·         Conducting health screenings of all individuals who enter DMHAS facilities, including staff and clients;

·         Approving over 900 employees for telework to promote social distancing and minimize exposure to clients and staff at DMHAS facilities; and,

·         Directing staff who are symptomatic or have been in close contact with individuals suspected of or having COVID-19 to stay home and self-quarantine to prevent infecting clients and other staff.

False Rumor: Parents cannot visit their children in the hospital. 

Fact: Parents and legal guardians are permitted to visit their children in the Hospital. Temperature & screening of patients and families is in effect in most hospitals.

For an example, see CT Children’s:

https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/coronavirus/coronavirus-update-visitor-restrictions-and-info/

PLEASE BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR STIMULUS CHECK SCAMS!!!!!!!

False Rumor: Your Census participation will impact your potential COVID-19 stimulus check.

Fact: Your Census participation will not impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus check.
See below for more details:
https://2020census.gov/en/news-events/rumors/stimulus-packages.html

See Below for Stimulus Check FAQ's
https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-stimulus-package-questions-answers.html

Small Business Loans for Connecticut. 

Head to this website for more information.

Senate passes stimulus package

The Senate has passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 883-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. The unanimous vote comes despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough.

The House still needs to vote.

March 25

DMV will provide critical services in a new operating model

The Department of Motor Vehicles is providing critical services to businesses and organizations to support their needs. 

All of the DMV's office have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government agency with incorporate a new model that uses online, mail, and phone-based practices. It will also use the Connecticut Commercial Vehicle Operations portal. 

You can get more information by clicking here

East Lyme First Selectman asks those returning to summer homes to self-quarantine

East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson asked residents who are returning from the south for the season and anyone coming to a summer home to self quarantine for 14 days for the protection of themselves and town residents. 

Second Department of Corrections employee tests positive for COVID-19

Another Connecticut Department of Correction  employee has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The employee is assigned to the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville. They last entered the facility on March 21. The patient is a custody staff employee. 

The individual was scheduled to work Wednesday  but called out sick and later called back to report to the facility’s administration the positive test result for the COVID-19 virus. The DOC said, "To date no other staff member or offender at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus."

"A review of the individuals assigned posts for the last five days worked, placed the individual in areas of the Radgowski building which required minimal interaction with the offender population."

Gov. Lamont to holds press briefing

Governor Ned Lamont held a news briefing at the State Armory at Wednesday.

RELATED: FOX61's Ben Goldman addresses deferred health insurance premiums, quarantine into CT with Lamont

The numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 875 people on Wednesday. 19 people have died due to COVID-19. 

Fairfield County has the most cases with 546 cases, New Haven has 127 and Hartford has 116. 

State releases COVID-19 tracking map

You can check the map out here and see how many confirmed cases are in your town.

UConn, CSCU will refund students unused credits

Connecticut State Universities announces that credits to students will be refunded for unused room and board. 

CSCU President Mark Ojakian said that the action will be completed by next week. Any credit balance will be refunded to students. Each institution is currently in the process of reaching out to students to outline the timeline and procedures. 

Amounts will vary based on university, type of housing, and other factors, but students who paid room and board fees should expect a credit covering the period beginning with the closure of residence halls through the end of the spring 2020 term.

The UConn Board of Trustees authorized the university’s administration today to issue pro-rated housing and dining reimbursements to more than 12,000 UConn students who can no longer access those services due to the pandemic and closure of the residence halls.

Many more details, including quotes and dollar amounts, can be found here:

https://today.uconn.edu/2020/03/uconn-provide-refunds-unused-housing-dining-plans/

State Police rumor control

Rumor- The State of CT has or is closing schools for the rest of the school year.

Fact: As of Wednesday, the state has not closed schools for the year. However, there is constant reassessment of closures based on the evolving impact of Covid19. CT Schools are currently closed through April 20th. Many school closure extension options remain a possibility. While we understand the need for a date, a definitive re-open date just isn't predictable right now.

False Rumor- The State of CT has closed all golf courses.

Fact: Golf courses can remain open- subject to social distancing guidelines. No clubhouses, walkers preferred or one to a cart, handle your own clubs, etc.
https://www.csgalinks.org/content/…/ct-courses-and-covid-19

For more info: www.ct.gov/coronavirus or call 211 #Call211

Hartford Hospital to supply workers with N95 masks

Hartford HealthCare announced in a press conference Wednesday that every clinical employee will receive an N95 or surgical mask.

Hartford Healthcare is expecting 12-15,000 masks to come in. Officials say they are working with industries who have reached out to donate those masks.

N95 masks are ideally intended for single-use but officials will determine if they can be re-used.  

State Police suspend fingerprinting services

March 24

Hartford Archdioceses extends cancellation of public Masses through April 30

The announcement was made Tuesday, the Hartford Archdioceses extended their cancellation on all public Masses through April 30. Officials originally planned for the cancellation to be through April 3. This cancellation will include liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. 

Priests will continue to celebrate daily Mass alone remembering in prayer all who are impacted by the pandemic. 

Read the full statement from the Archdioceses below: 

In light of continued uncertainty regarding the extent and duration of the coronavirus in the state of Connecticut and throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford, the cancellation of public Masses and liturgies in the churches of the Archdiocese (the counties of Hartford, Litchfield, and New Haven) that was originally mandated through April 3, 2020, will now extend through April 30, 2020. This includes the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Parishes will be advised in the coming days regarding what spiritual opportunities can be offered to their people during this most holy season of the liturgical year.

Priests will continue to celebrate a daily Mass alone with no congregation, remembering in prayer all who are affected by the pandemic, and parishes should continue to make provision for their churches to be open at some time so that individuals can still come and pray.

With regards to archdiocesan and parish schools, the Archdiocese of Hartford will continue to follow the decisions made by the state of Connecticut for its public schools, which currently remain closed.

Please know that any and all decisions made by the Archdiocese regarding closures and cancellations are based on the current understanding of the severity of the situation surrounding the pandemic at any given point and may be altered (modified, extended, or revoked) when deemed necessary.

Please join Archbishop Blair in praying for the intercession of Mary, our Mother, in protecting our people from the scourge of the coronavirus

New Haven has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Mayor Justin Elicker said Tuesday that there are 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Haven. 

Elicker also said they were testing 4 to 5 fire fighters and two police officers for the virus. 

Should you clean your gas pump handle?

We did some digging and found this. 

The CDC doesn't specify about the virus being present in gas pumps, however, as it is a public surface, it can be recommended to be wiped before touching the gas pump, or you should wash your hands after, use hand sanitizer or wipe your steering wheel so you don't continue to carry bacteria and potentially the virus to your home. The best option still is to keep you hands clean, especially after being in contact with any public surfaces such as door knobs/handles, doors and of course gas pumps. Please find some links below for further information.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-how-to-protect-yourself-against-coronavirus-when-pumping-gas/

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html

The Disaster Distress Helpline provides immediate crisis counseling 

Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Helpline is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week and free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster. The Helpline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms.

Greenwich train station closes

The Greenwich Train Station building will be closed to the public indefinitely, effective at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 24 because the waiting room has an elevator, which does not allow for the minimum of six feet for safe social distancing.

An advisory will be posted on the building doors to direct patrons to the Track 4 side of the complex. Patrons needing elevator access to Track 3, should utilize the pedestrian bridge crossing.

It should be noted that the Town-operated stations in Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich remain closed to the public. These building closures do not impact train schedules.

Lamont confirms 12 coronavirus deaths in CT, total cases rise to 618

Gov. Lamont said Tuesday two additional deaths and over 200 new infections have been reported in Connecticut.

"We thought it might get worse before it gets better and I'm afraid that we were right," Lamont said at a press conference.

The state's total number of coronavirus cases grows to 618.

To date, more than 5,300 tests have been conducted statewide, according to Lamont.

FOX61 asked the Governor: Will you require insurance companies to extend coverage as people lose jobs?

Gov. Lamont says he urges insurance companies to do what they can to have the healthcare coverage they need, however he is not ordering insurance companies to do so at this time.

Lamont says schools likely to be closed for the remainder of school year. 

Governor Lamont said on WCBS 880 Tuesday that Connecticut schools will likely not reopen until the fall because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“You just look at Italy and you look at Wuhan province, you see what the life cycle was there and you worry that if people get back too quickly that there’ll be a second iteration of this virus," Lamont said. "So April 20 is the minimum, probably the school year.”

Connecticut State Police Rumor Control

"The CT Covid- 19 Joint Information Center has identified two false rumors today that we are trying to correct:

1. False Rumor: The State Borders and Highways are closed

Fact: The State of Connecticut is not under lockdown; borders are open and will remain open. The public is strongly urged to Stay Safe and Stay Home unless they work in an essential field. State highways remain fully operational. Additionally Rest Areas on I-84 and I-91 remain open 24/7. Service Plazas on I-95, I-395, and the Merritt Parkway remain open 24/7 and will have fuel, bathrooms, convenience stores, and limitted prepared takeout food.

2. False Rumor: There is a state curfew in place.

Fact: No state curfews are in place as a result of Covid-19. At this time, there are absolutely no plans for a state curfew.The public is strongly urged to Stay Safe, Stay Home unless they work in an essential field.

Please refer here for detailed facts

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announces programs to aide non profits

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced its new COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofit organizations that serve residents throughout the Greater Hartford region who are disproportionately affected by this public health crisis.

Our new fund's landing page is designed to provide tailored for donors, nonprofits, and community members with on how to get more information on how to get involved or seek assistance. Learn more at: https://www.hfpg.org/covid-19-response

Hartford Foundation COVID 19 FAQs for Nonprofits

Hartford Foundation COVID 19 Response Fund FAQ for Donors

Quinnipiac University salary reductions

The university sent out a statement regarding temporary salary reductions:

“The unprecedented magnitude and impact of this global health crisis require us to take measured steps now to address our new financial reality. We are confident Quinnipiac can weather this crisis, and any adjustments we need to make to budgets or services will be guided by our commitment to soften the human impacts on our students, faculty and staff as much as possible.”  

March 23

Connecticut Edge Fitness employee tests positive for COVID-19 

The company sent out an email to its members Monday night confirming that one of their employees tested positive for the virus. 

The employee taught classes at the Fairfield, Hamden, and Orange locations. They were last at an Edge Club facility on March 11. They are currently better. 

The company went on to say that if you were in one of the aforementioned gyms, take the necessary precautions recommended by the CDC. 

Edge Fitness was closed on March 16. 

Derby announced first confirmed case

The city said that one resident tested positive March 23. The patient is quarantined at home. 

Hamden has first confirmed case of COVID-19 

The town made the announcement Monday. Mayor Curt Leng said that even though there is a first official case, there are probably more.  

"While this positive test was the first official in Hamden, there are certainly more cases here in Town that are yet untested. State Officials explained that we should assume for every one positive case, there are 100 additional people who have the virus who have not yet been identified through testing," said Mayor Leng 

State Legislators postpone legislative business until April 13

Legislative leaders said that all legislative business including public hearings and committee meetings were postponed to April 13. The Legislative Office Building, and the Old State House, will be closed. 

Legislators will meet during the week of April 6 to see if any more action is necessary. 

In a joint statement, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate President Martin M. Looney, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said:

"The General Assembly will continue to postpone all committee meetings, public hearings, and other legislative business until April 13. Protecting Connecticut residents during this public health emergency is our priority during this time and we will be in constant communication to determine if any further action needs to be taken."

Department of Labor receives over 70,000 unemployment claims

The DOL announced Monday they received more than 72,000 new unemployment claims from 3/13 to 3/20. 

Over the weekend, they received 17,000 new claims and on March 23, they received about 10,000 claims. 

Below is information for the Department of Labor: 

DOL’s Live Chat for unemployment questions is currently unavailable.

Those with unemployment questions may visit our Online Assistance Center at www.filectui.com

General questions may be submitted to dol.webhelp@ct.gov

Our American Job Centers are closed to in-person visits, but claimants may call 860-263-6975 or 203-455-2653 for general information concerning unemployment benefits. Unemployment claims cannot be processed or expedited by calling this telephone service.

Employers with questions may call 860-263-6705 or email DOL.MeritRating@ct.gov for assistance.

New Haven Update

Mayor Justin Elicker said Monday there are 13 verified cases of COVID-19 in New Haven. One person is recovering at the hospital. Three of the cases have a connection to a small substance abuse shelter. Two cases are residents of the shelter and the third is an employee who is connected with the shelter. 

Branford confirms positive cases of COVID-19
Today, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has confirmed the first positive cases of COVID-19 among two Branford residents. These individuals are male and between the ages of 63 and 70 years old.

UTC commits to donate gloves, masks, and suits for healthcare workers

Emotional support line

 24 hours a day seven days a week Healthcare Emotional Support Helpline 866-342-6892 being provided by Optum with specially trained mental health specialists that anyone can call.

Get help with: 

  • Managing Stress Levels During Coronavirus Pandemic
  • How to Cope During a Time of High Uncertainty
  • Tips and techniques to cope and manage your stress during this challenging time

South Windsor

The town of South Windsor over the weekend confirmed cases of COVID-19. Officials say they will conduct thorough contact investigations with both residents, both female and between the age of 18-30.

Rocky Hill
Rocky Hill's Mayor issues video following resident's death. You can watch it here. 

Cromwell reports confirmed cases of virus

The Town of Cromwell reported that the State Department of Health confirmed a positive case of COVID-19. One of the positive cases is an 84-year-old man. The health department is asking anyone who tested positive to stay at home until they are proven fever-free for 72 hours (without fever-reducing medications), other symptoms noticeably improve, and it has been at least seven days since symptoms began. Positive cases reported to the health department will be investigated. 

Middlesex Health Closes to Visitors

 Effective immediately, all Middlesex Health service locations are closed to visitors except for those making compassionate visits. Compassionate visits include visits to see patients receiving end-of-life care and visits to see patients being cared for in the Middlesex Health Pregnancy & Birth Center.

Visitors who make compassionate care visits must be in good health and over the age of 18 unless special permission is granted. When at the hospital, they must wash their hands frequently to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

AT&T drops overage fees

AT&T announced they are are waiving domestic wireless voice and data overage fees for customers nationwide. These fees will be retroactively waived, dating back to March 13th.The company said they will not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.