Connecticut residents continue to adjust to living under a public health emergency, as state officials implemented more measures Friday aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
The number of confirmed positive cases in Connecticut is now 12, with an additional 7 Connecticut residents testing positive in the last 24 hours.
The new cases include a woman in her 80s from Rocky Hill, a woman in her 30s from Bethlehem, a man in his 60s from Bethlehem, a woman in her 40s from Westport, a man in his 50s from Darien, a man in his 40s from Greenwich, and another man in his 20s from Greenwich.
Meanwhile, changes to daily life continue to rollout across the state. More than half of the school children in Connecticut will not be in school as of Monday. One third of all school districts are closed in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Children enrolled in schools that have closed due to COVID-19 who depend on the federal school lunch and breakfast program will continue to have access to those meals throughout the duration of this period,” said Governor Ned Lamont’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe during a press conference late Friday afternoon.
Geballe said Lamont’s administration will enact a program similar to the summer lunch program, where parents and students can show up at their school and get a lunch for the student and other children in the home under the age of 18, and take the lunch home with them.
Only one student in a household must be present to receive multiple meals for every child 18 years old and under in their household.
“That’s a very important action that will help our major cities in particular,” Geballe said.
For residents looking to avoid a doctor’s visit, the Department of Social Services will also expand telemedicine coverage for state residents using the HUSKY and Medicaid programs, Geballe said.
“For 850,000 enrolled residents DSS is going to cover identified telemedicine services, effective today,” Geballe said. Those services include real-time video conferencing with a healthcare provider for medical and behavioral health services.
State regulators also announced Friday that utilities will no longer be able to shut off the water, electricity, or natural gas of residential customers if they don’t pay their bills. State officials said while shut-off orders for non-payment will be temporarily suspended, utility customers should continue to pay their bills, as they will be ultimately responsible for any charges accrued during the moratorium.
Meanwhile, churches across Connecticut continue to curtail services. The Archdiocese of Hartford said in a statement Friday that effective immediately and through Sunday, March 29, "the Archbishop has dispensed from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass each and every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Hartford."
This story has been updated.