Governor Ned Lamont says the state is doing everything it can to combat coronavirus and offered suggestions for residents during a news conference on Monday.
"Nobody could be totally prepared for a virus like COVID-19, a virus that's changing every day. And the infections are accelerating every day, but we're working together on a collaborative basis to do everything we can," said Lamont.
In new guidance, Lamont said college students should not go home for spring break if they don't need to. If they do choose to go home, they may need to self-quarantine when they return, he said.
Later Monday state lawmakers announced that the Capitol complex will be closed immediately to all non-legislative events, meetings and tours. Tuesday's legislative activity will move forward as scheduled, but Wednesday will be a shortened day, and the building will be closed Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a thorough cleaning.
Lawmakers said they have plans to reassess the situation via conference meetings and conference calls daily.
Also on Monday, Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut was recently given an additional test kit. The test allows 600 coronavirus tests to be conducted.
"We do have another test kit. That represents the ability to do another 600 tests. So far we've done less than 50. All that means to says is we are prepared. We've had our first Connecticut case of COVID-19 and it won't be the last,” Lamont added.
The announcement of the new test kit comes just one day after a Wilton man tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus involving a Connecticut resident.
Lamont said on Sunday that the Connecticut Department of Health State Laboratory confirmed the case.
The patient is a resident of Wilton, is 40 to 50 years old and is being treated at Danbury Hospital, according to Lamont.
The person most likely became infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 during a recent trip to California, he added. Everyone who had direct, face-to-face contact with this man are being instructed to stay home and self-isolate.
This case is not related to the COVID-19 case involving a community physician who made rounds at Bridgeport Hospital or the case involving a Danbury Hospital employee. Both are residents of New York State, according to Lamont.
This case is considered presumptive positive until it is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have been expecting for some time that a Connecticut resident would become infected with COVID-19, so this should not come as a surprise to anybody. We wish this patient a full recovery and we know he is being cared for by highly competent medical teams," Lamont said in a release.
Danbury Hospital said it will continue to operate with minimal interruptions and they will be implementing some new policies to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
This comes just one day after a doctor from New York, who practices in Connecticut, tested positive for coronavirus. The physician's case marked the second case connected to the state within a day.
On Saturday, Gov. Lamont announced that a community physician who made rounds at Bridgeport Hospital tested positive for coronavirus.
The doctor saw a limited number of patients at Bridgeport Hospital and did not show signs or symptoms of coronavirus while working, according to Bridgeport Hospital President Anne Diamond.
The physician's contact with patients at Bridgeport Hospital did not constitute an exposure because he did not have symptoms, Diamond added.
Diamond said the hospital took the small number of patients who were exposed to the doctor and isolated them as a precaution.
The Centers for Disease Control is now advising that the isolation was not necessary because the doctor did not have symptoms while at Bridgeport Hospital, Diamond added.
The physician is also a New York State resident who works in Connecticut, Lamont added.
"Bridgeport Hospital officials were in direct communication with the Connecticut Department of Public Health when they were made aware of this positive case. The physician did not show signs or symptoms when he worked with patients at Bridgeport Hospital and the risk to staff and patients remains low," Lamont said in a release.
Staff at Bridgeport Hospital will not require isolation or furlough given the nature of the encounter, but the hospital is asking all staff to self monitor for symptoms, Diamond added.
This marks the second New York state resident who works in Connecticut testing positive for coronavirus.
On Friday, a hospital employee who is a New York resident and works at Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital also tested positive for COVID-19.
She lives in Westchester County and is currently there under self-quarantine, according to the governor. The positive coronavirus test was performed in New York state. She was originally tested Wednesday but the results just came back late Friday.
"We believe she was infected in New York," said Chief Operating Officer of Danbury Hospital Kerry Eaton.
Renee Coleman-Mitchell, the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said both the cases on Friday and Saturday do not officially count as Connecticut cases.
The hospital employee came into contact with a limited number of patients, Eaton said. She was notified that she came in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, reported the contact and was placed on leave.
“We have been preparing for weeks for COVID-19 to come to Connecticut and we should expect more cases in the coming days as this virus reaches every corner of the globe. We continue to encourage everyone to take simple but important precautions, such as washing your hands frequently, avoid shaking hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are sick," Lamont said in a release on Saturday.
The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.
Coronavirus Prevention Steps
Steps for prevention from the CDC include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus
Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
- Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.
The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.
Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTVOID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.
You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.
“We understand people have specific questions, but we want to stress that this call center is only intended for general information. Anyone looking for specific medical advice regarding symptoms they may be experiencing is strongly urged to seek medical treatment,” Lamont said in a release Saturday.
Hartford HealthCare has also opened a 24-hour hotline to answer any questions people may have. To reach the hotline, call 860-972-8100.