State has 2nd case; employees told to restrict travel | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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State has 2nd case; employees told to restrict travel

March 09, 2020 - 4:09 PM

BRISTOL, Conn. - Connecticut officials continued to take steps Monday to try to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the state, including a freeze on state employees travelling out of state for official business. Over the weekend, Connecticut reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. A second positive test was announced Monday.

Some of the steps being taken include:


Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont wrote Monday morning to all state employees in Connecticut's executive branch agencies to inform them of the immediate freeze on out-of-state travel. Any exceptions will have to be approved by agency heads and Lamont's chief operating officers.

Lamont also called on state employees working with out-of-state colleagues to hold teleconferences rather than meet in person.

“Let's limit what our exposure is,” Lamont said.

He said his administration would evaluate whether any state of Connecticut-organized meetings, conferences or gatherings that are anticipated to have more than 100 people and scheduled between now and April 30 should be postponed or held via teleconference.



The president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the state's largest higher education system, sent an email Monday to students, faculty and staff strongly discouraging them from taking personal travel outside of Connecticut, particularly during spring break.

“If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days,” the email read.

President Mark Ojakian said there is also an immediate freeze on institutionally sponsored travel outside of Connecticut until further notice, as well as a directive to postpone, cancel or adjust all campus events, other than classes, that are expected to have more 100 or more participants through at least April 30.



Seven students who attend Trinity College in Hartford are in self-quarantine off campus for 14 days after possibly being exposed to coronavirus, school officials said.

Joe DiChristina, vice-president for students affairs and dean of campus life, said the students were examined at the school's health centre and did not display any symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.



Josh Geballe, Lamont's chief operating officer, said the administration is recommending that nursing homes stop allowing visitors, while allowing the facilities to make some exceptions.

“We're really taking, in consultation with the nursing homes, a very firm line on this, because all of the data coming out from all around the world right now has been very clear that that population is by far the most at risk," he said.



Lamont said he and Geballe raised concerns during a call on Monday with Vice-President Mike Pence about the distribution of federal test kits for COVID-19, considering Connecticut's proximity to New York, where the coronavirus caseload rose Monday from 105 to 142.

Connecticut's Fairfield County borders New York's Westchester County, where there is a cluster of cases.

“So, we think they ought to be thinking about this more regionally as they figure out who's going to get priority for those tests,” Lamont said.

Connecticut has received a second kit from the federal government, allowing the state's lab to test up to 600 people.



The city of New Haven is recommending that gatherings with more than 100 people, including the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, be postponed until further notice.

“As a global city, we need to take every precaution possible to mitigate any chance of a COVID-19 case in New Haven,” said New Haven Health Director Martiza Bond.



The Connecticut Department of Insurance issued a bulletin on Monday, calling on health insurers and health care centres to waive the cost of COVID-19 testing to “ensure that cost-sharing is not a barrier” to testing.

They're also being urged to offer and waive fees for medical advice and treatment of COVID-19 via telehealth services.



The University of Connecticut said its basketball and other athletic teams will travel as planned to games, but will only bring along essential personnel. Other schools are taking different approaches. Trinity College is prohibiting travel to any state that has declared an emergency due to COVID-19. Eastern Connecticut and Southern Connecticut said they have cancelled several out-of-state trips for athletic teams.


The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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