Gov. Ned Lamont is declaring civil preparedness and public health emergencies in Connecticut so that the state can take specific actions in response to coronavirus – COVID-19.
That opens a new range of possible measures that could be taken, including speeding up public health regulations.
The hope is to drastically increase the number of tests being done.
The governor was asked if some of the preventative steps being taken might be an overreaction, with only two cases of coronavirus in Connecticut.
Lamont said he’s talked to other governors, including the governor of Washington State, and they tell him the only thing they regret is they didn’t do more sooner.
“I’m not worried about us overreacting. I’m proud of us being prepared. You know prepare for the worst, hope for the best. And I think you should have some confidence that this is a state working together," Lamont said.
Right now the state will soon be able to process up to 60 coronavirus tests each day.
The governor believes that can be boosted now that hospitals and private providers will be able to join the effort.
The two people in Connecticut who have tested positive for coronavirus, including a Wilton man in his 40s or 50s and a woman in her 60s from Bethlehem who works at Bridgeport Hospital. Fifty-four patients have tested negative.
Two other people with Connecticut connections have tested positive as well.
A Fairfield County nurse tested positive for COVID-19, according to Lamont. The woman is a Westchester County resident and is believed to have been exposed to the virus there.
And on Saturday, Lamont announced that a second New York State resident who works in Connecticut tested positive for COVID-19, noting that the person "is a community physician who made rounds at Bridgeport Hospital and did not show signs or symptoms of coronavirus while working with patients and stayed home to self-monitor."
That case is not connected to the Bethlehem woman, who officials believe was infected during an out-of-state trip to Nevada, then flew home and was working at Bridgeport Hospital. She is now in care.
The woman had contact with children and grandchildren and that has led to the Region 14 school district closing for the rest of the week, officials said during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
School buildings in the district will be closed from March 11 to 15 to deep clean and disinfect them.
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.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
- Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
- 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.
- 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.
- If you develop symptoms, 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.
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 "CTCOVID" 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.