CONNECTICUT

Coverage of Connecticut from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

The push to get more people screened for the novel coronavirus continued Thursday, as state and federal officials converged outside a community center in Hartford to promote a new mobile COVID-19 testing unit.

Connecticut has significantly expanded its testing capacity in recent weeks, but the state has struggled to increase the number of residents tested in communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

The nation’s child care industry would benefit from a $50 billion federal emergency fund proposed by U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. She says the industry is on the precipice of a major crisis due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Pandemic Accelerates Shift Toward Work-From-Home

May 26, 2020
An empty MBTA Green Line train in Boston on March 24, 2020.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The COVID-19 pandemic injected a bolt of momentum into a work-from-home trend in New England that was already underway and will likely become permanent or more frequent for many workers.

COVID-19 Update: Connecticut DOT Gives A Boost To Outdoor Dining

May 26, 2020

With rain and chilly temperatures, it wasn’t a good day for al fresco dining. But Gov. Ned Lamont announced Saturday the issuance of the first-of-its kind state permit: Mystic Pizza was granted permission to use a state highway right-of-way for outdoor dining.

Federal workplace safety inspectors are investigating the death or hospitalization of at least three Connecticut elder care workers due to complications from COVID-19. 

The investigations come as union officials say at least six unionized nursing home employees have died from coronavirus. 

Massachusetts On Track To Lag Connecticut Casino Reopenings

May 21, 2020
MGM Springfield on Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Competitor casinos in Connecticut are readying themselves for a June 1 reopening. But an early July reopening is likely the best case scenario for Massachusetts gambling centers, which have been closed since March 15, and are part of the third phase of the state's reopening plan.

The tone and substance of Gov. Ned Lamont’s daily COVID-19 briefing changed Thursday as he looked back on the sweeping restrictions he’s imposed since March and ahead to a Memorial Day weekend when saltwater beaches reopen for swimming.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has urged the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes not to reopen parts of their casinos as announced on June 1. 

Restaurants returned to serving dining customers Wednesday as part of phase one of Connecticut’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

In Enfield, “reopening day” marked the return of The Country Diner, a spot that’s been closed for the past two months.

Some restaurants and retail stores in Connecticut will open Wednesday for the first time in months.

Steve Bayusik, operations manager for three restaurants in Fairfield and New Haven, says they’re shifting to single-use menus, and all tables are reservation-only.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the dissolution Tuesday of Connecticut’s education partnership with hedge fund giant Ray Dalio’s philanthropic group — a deal marred by transparency issues and oversight scandals — less than one year after its creation.

As the state’s businesses start to reopen this week, barbershops and hair salons will not be among them.

Both were initially slated for a May 20 reopening, but on Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont pushed that date back to June 1. 

Governor Ned Lamont says Connecticut’s COVID-19 infection metrics are moving in the right direction for nonessential businesses to begin reopening this week, despite the concern of some lawmakers. He says there’s a need to get people back to work and reduce the high levels of unemployment. 

Some nonessential businesses in Connecticut will reopen in about a week after being closed down for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order that shuttered them on March 16 to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. But a recent announcement that businesses like hair salons and barbershops would be included in the first reopening wave has workers worried about the spread of coronavirus in their workplace.

Drive-through coronavirus testing centers in Hartford have been active for nearly two months, but many North End residents don’t have cars or rely on public transportation to get around. And other barriers, like a lack of health insurance or a doctor’s referral prevented others from getting tested for the disease.

After weeks of long lines at COVID-19 testing clinics, state and local officials said Connecticut is now facing a different problem: too many coronavirus tests and not enough people taking them. 

Two Connecticut voters have sued the state in federal court demanding that the state allow remote gathering of election petitions and no-excuse absentee voting during the pandemic.

Eighteen immigrants at an ICE detention center in Alabama sued for emergency release last week. The plaintiffs claim their pre-existing health conditions put them at high risk for COVID-19. 

The Connecticut legislative session comes to an end at midnight on Wednesday. But for the first time no lawmakers will actually be at the Capitol because that would violate the state’s social distancing requirement. 

A state report released last month sets out a pathway for getting at least 10 times as many electric vehicles on Connecticut roadways by 2025.

Ramping up electric vehicle use from roughly 12,000 to at least 125,000 in five years is ambitious by any measure. But with the country now sliding into recession, gas prices in free fall, and unemployment at record highs, the goals outlined in the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s 109-page Electric Vehicle Roadmap appear especially daunting.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday he is canceling in-person classes at all Connecticut K-12 public schools for the rest of this school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, requiring districts to continue distance learning.

Gov. Ned Lamont will order K-12 schools throughout Connecticut to stay closed for the remainder of the academic year because of the health threat posed by COVID-19.

Connecticut will join six other states in forming a consortium to purchase protective gear, medical equipment and testing supplies – an effort aimed at saving money and preparing for a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Hartford HealthCare has launched a mobile coronavirus testing program in partnership with the city of Hartford that will make it easier to bring testing to people who need it.

The state has changed the way it reports testing for COVID-19, the result of which meant a one-day jump of about 11,000 tests reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Graduates from UMass Amherst in 2019 line up for commencement exercises. Most May 2020 commencement events in the U.S. were canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Office of News and Media Relations / UMass Amherst

Updated at 3:05 p.m. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, college students all over the country were sent home to finish up the school year and it soon became clear that graduation ceremonies would be canceled. 

The federal and state response to COVID-19 in nursing homes is riddled with economic — and racial — inequities that are taking a greater toll in deaths and illnesses than government officials have disclosed, Connecticut’s largest health care workers’s union charged Friday.

Praying together in a mosque could put Muslims at risk of catching COVID-19, so mosques are closed to the public.

That makes for a very different celebration of the holy month of Ramadan in 2020. It means that special evening prayers must be done at home.

Gov. Ned Lamont painted a picture Monday of a state with an eventually reopened economy undergirded by rapid testing and data collection. 

But how officials will use that data to inform public health actions in the coming months is an open question. 

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