Recent updates from the CDC, WHO, FDA, State of CT, and other news sources.
Friday, May 29, 2020
Experts Rate the Risks of 14 Summertime Activities (NPR) -This article assesses the risks of a variety of common summer pastimes. Activities are rated low/medium/high and recommendations are made to further reduce risks when partaking. (Spoiler alert: Going to nightclubs is something you might want to avoid this summer…)
Friday, May 22, 2020
CVS Health Adds 13 New Drive-Thru Testing Sites (CVS) – CVS Health has opened 13 additional testing sites in Connecticut. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment. All tests are conducted via self-swab test kits, under the guidance of a CVS Health team member. Results are returned within three days. The 13 new drive sites are located at:
81 North Street, Bristol, CT
292 Spielman Highway, Burlington, CT
47 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury, CT
16 Main Street, East Hartford, CT
Chesterfield Road, East Lyme, CT
1770 Kings Highway, Fairfield, CT
1657 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT
690 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford, CT
57 Providence Pike, Putnam, CT
229 Hope Street, Stamford, CT
1938 West Main Street, Stamford, CT
Norwich-New London Turnpike, Uncasville, CT
355 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT
Online Ordering and Delivery/Curbside Pickup for SNAP Recipients (State of CT) – The Connecticut Department of Social Services is preparing online access to food for those with SNAP benefits. Enrollees will be able to use their SNAP EBT cards to purchase food online for delivery or curbside pickup. Participating food retailers are now Amazon, including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh; 12 Walmart stores (see weblink for list); and 22 participating ShopRite stores in the state (see weblink for list). Check back for the addition of other participating stores.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
CDC Publishes Safe Re-Openings Guide for Communities and Businesses (CDC) -The CDC has published a set of health considerations for safe operation for a variety of community and businesses, including summer camps, schools, youth sports organizations, higher education, restaurants and bars. Recommendations include ways to promote infection control behaviors, maintaining health environments and operations, and preparedness for illness.
Connecticut Expands Free Life Insurance for Frontline Workers and Eligible Volunteers (State of CT) – The Connecticut Insurance Department has expedited approval of the expansion of HealthBridge, a MassMutual product, free to frontline health care workers and eligible volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Connecticut.
DEEP Issues ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Outdoor Recreation Information (State of CT) -Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection maintains guidelines on the use of Connecticut state park grounds, trails, beaches, boat launches, and other areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Know before you go! Contains updated information on closures, restrooms, camping, classes, and park facilities
Enforcement and Reporting Protocols Established for State Re-Openings (State of CT) -Local health officials, local law enforcement and municipalities will oversee enforcement of safe reopening and operating rules. First violations will be delivered primarily as a warning and education by local law enforcement. Local health departments will rule on subsequent violations or more serious violations will be ruled upon by local health departments. Anyone may report a violation to local law enforcement or through the online complaint form.
Nursing Home Inspections Data Available Online (State of CT) -The Connecticut Department of Public Health is posting findings from infection control inspections of nursing homes around the state. These inspections are conducted in partnership with the Connecticut National Guard and CDC inspectors. Example findings from recent inspections include cohorting (housing or grouping together COVID-19-positive nursing home residents); non-compliance, improper notifications to facility residents, workers, and families; improper physical distancing between residents; and improper use or cleaning of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Governor Permits Absentee Ballots in Aug. 11 Primaries (State of CT) -Connecticut will enable absentee voting on August 11 primary elections for president, and other federal, state, and local offices. The Connecticut Secretary of State will mail absentee voting applications to every voter in the state. Applications must be returned in the postage-paid envelope that accompanies the application. Once applications are processed, voters will be mailed a ballot that can be returned by mail or dropped at a centralized secure drop box located in each town.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
“No-Cost” COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Reminder (State of CT) – Connecticut Insurance Department reminds residents that state and federal law requires all fully-insured and self-insured health plans (including those with high deductibles) to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment with no out-of-pocket costs. “In addition, HUSKY Health is now covering COVID-19 testing for uninsured Connecticut residents who are U.S. citizens or have a qualifying immigration status, regardless of income; and covering COVID-19 testing for residents without a qualifying immigration status if they meet HUSKY income requirements and have COVID-19 symptoms.”
Connecticut Returns Flags to Full-Staff (State of CT) – Gov. Lamont directed flags to return to full-staff at sunset on Tuesday, May 19. Flags were lowered in April in recognition of all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Hair Salon Reopenings Delayed to Early June (State of CT) – Gov. Lamont that hair salons and barbershops will remain closed in Connecticut until early June. The decision was made based on owners and employees expressing concerns over preparedness to comply with reopening guidelines. The Governor believes these establishments will be ready to reopen by early June.
Executive Order Further Clarifies State Reopening Guidelines (State of CT) –Various updates have been defined with Executive Order No. 7PP, including:
- Extending the prohibition on large gatherings to June 20.
- Defining the reopening date for off-track betting, indoor fitness, and movie theaters as June 20.
- Clarifying that in Phase 1, no more than 5 people may be seated together for outdoor dining.
- Prohibiting resident camps from operating through this public health emergency.
Connecticut Releases Online Guide to Support Small Business Reopenings (State of CT) –An online guide is available to assist small businesses in their efforts to comply with COVID-19 safety guidance and manage the broader reopening process. The guide includes information on securing financial needs, employee training and support, physical layouts, and a geographic list of suppliers who can help with securing necessary PPE, cleaning, and other protective supplies.
Reminder to be Sure Your Child’s Immunizations Are Up to Date (CDC) –The CDC provides concerning evidence that child immunizations have declined, using the State of Michigan as an example. “Data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry showed that that vaccine coverage at most milestone ages has declined to less than 50% in May 2020 for children under the age of 2.” Vaccines are considered an essential part of childhood health and should be continued, says the CDC. Contact your child’s physician if you have questions about how to safely stay on track for pediatric immunizations.
Monday, May 18, 2020
FDA Issues Coronavirus Testing Fact Sheet (FDA) – So much new terminology surrounds all of us as we learn about the coronavirus pandemic. Check out the FDA’s recent information basis sheet about coronavirus testing. Understand the differences between molecular, antigen, antibody testing and the processes followed to deliver those results.
Connecticut to Distribute 50,000 Infrared Thermometers to Municipalities (State of CT) – In partnership with Connecticut Business and Industry Association and its affiliate CONNSTEP, the state will distribute 50,000 infrared thermometers to municipalities. Small businesses, nonprofits and places of worship may request free thermometers, while supplies last, through the links below:
- Small businesses (between 2 and 100 employees – one thermometer per physical address)
- Nonprofits (one thermometer per physical address)
- Social services and direct care nonprofits (process outlined in memo)
- Places of worship (one thermometer per physical address
State Park Beaches Will be Open for Memorial Day Weekend (State of CT) –Connecticut’s shoreline state parks are open with capacity restrictions. Social distancing guidelines continue, and the public is encouraged to use locations closest to their home and only visit with members of their immediate household and not meet up with others. State guidelines for public beaches usage include:
1. No public gatherings or groups of over five
2. Face coverings worn when in proximity to others
3. Set parking capacity limits at each beach based on observations of levels needed to maintain social distancing
4. Daily closures when social distancing cannot be maintained
5. Use of social media and other communications to inform the public when capacity is restricted so they can plan to go elsewhere
6. Spacing of 15 feet or more between beach blankets
“Currently, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that there is no current evidence of COVID-19 transmission through recreational freshwater or saltwater swimming.”
The 73rd World Health Assembly Convenes Virtually May 18-19 (WHO) -This year’s assembly, normally held in Geneva, Switzerland to set organization priorities, and global health agendas, will be virtual and focused largely on the COVID-19 pandemic. (Learn about WHO and the World Health Assembly in the above link.)
Friday, May 15, 2020
Alert About Potential False Negatives From Abbott ID NOW Tests (FDA) -The FDA is assessing early data suggesting that the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care COVID-19 test may be returning a higher than expected percentage of false negatives – meaning the test shows a negative result when actually a patient could be COVID-19 positive. The FDA is still evaluating new information and is working with Abbott to further understand and validate this information. They emphasize that the test continues to be useful in identifying positive cases within minutes, but negative results will need additional test screening to be verified. The FDA is working with Abbott on a customer notification letter to alert anyone that may have received a negative result from the test to seek alternative testing if their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.
Registration for CVS Drive-Through Sites Begins Today (State of CT) –Beginning Friday, May 15, patients may register for an appointment at any one of their 12 new drive-through COVID-19 test sites in Connecticut. Testing is conducted with self-swab tests. Patients will be provided the test kit and instructed on how to use it by a CVS Pharmacy team member. Results are available within approximately three days. The new testing sites in Connecticut include CVS pharmacies in these locations:
CVS Pharmacy, 7 Durant Avenue, Bethel, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 905 South Main Street, Cheshire, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 3514 Main Street, Coventry, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 54 East High Street, East Hampton, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 875 Enfield Street, Enfield, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 2639 Main Street, Glastonbury, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 1057 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 479 Blue Hills Avenue, Hartford, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 150 Washington Street, Hartford, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 323 Cromwell Avenue, Rocky Hill, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 525 Buckland Street, South Windsor, CT
CVS Pharmacy, 1 Hawley Lane, Stratford, CT
Thursday, May 14, 2020
On Saturday, May 16, DocsMedical will be conducting COVID-19 drive-through testing for Ridgefield residents at the Parks and Recreation Center, 195 Danbury Road, Ridgefield. DocsMedical will be testing from 11:00am to 3:00pm (last appointment time 2:30). No doctor’s script required, but pre-registration is desired as there are a limited number of tests available. Bring your license and insurance card. If not insured, additional steps will be required at time of testing.
Here is a listing of COVID-19 testing sites and requirements in and around Fairfield County, CT.
Here is information on new CVS drive-through sites opening in Connecticut in May.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Governor Eases Zoning and Ordinance Processes for Outdoor Dining and Retail (State of CT) –Gov. Lamont issued an executive order allowing municipalities to more easily adjust zoning rules and ordinances to allow businesses to create or increase outdoor dining, and to sell goods on sidewalks or outdoor areas.
CDC Shares Real-life Example of COVID-19 Transmission (CDC) – Emphasizing the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and the need for continued adherence to social distancing, the CDC has published the story of how the virus was transmitted following a group choir practice in Washington in March. 87% of attendees became ill after contact with one symptomatic attendee.
Ridgefield Issues Protocols and FAQs for Phase 1 Business Reopenings (Town of Ridgefield, CT) – The Town of Ridgefield, where RVNAhealth office is headquartered, has issued specific protocols and frequently asked questions for businesses opening in Phase 1. Included are details around face masks, restrooms, signage, phone/internet orders, as well as who to contact regarding outdoor dining planning, and building modifications. The guidelines are in addition to state requirements.
Connecticut Receives Largest Shipment of PPE (State of CT) – The state’s largest shipment of personal protective equipment has been delivered to the state’s commodities warehouse. The PPE includes 6 million surgical masks; 500,000 protective masks; 100,000 surgical gowns; and 100,000 temporal thermometers. “The PPE in the process of being sorted and then will be delivered to frontline workers, including first responders, hospital staff, long-term care facility staff, direct care providers, and other people on the front lines.”
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Connecticut Secures 1,200 doses of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir (State of CT) – The Department of Public Health has distributed this allotment of the antiviral drug, which has been shown to help severely ill COVID-19 patients, to acute care hospitals across the state. The drug manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, has promised 607,000 additional doses to be distributed across the U.S. over the next six weeks. Gov. Lamont is working with Connecticut’s Congressional delegation and the Connecticut Hospital Association to obtain additional doses for our state.
WHO Encourages Mothers to Continue Breastfeeding (CDC/WHO) -The CDC and WHO concur that based on current limited studies, the COVID-19 virus is not transferred through breastmilk. The CDC offers guidance on how to protect yourself and your baby if breastfeeding during this time. WHO also shares this video.
Monday, May 11, 2020
Face Coverings Still Available for Essential Small Businesses With Fewer Than 50 Employees (State of CT) – Connecticut continues to offer free face coverings to essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Eligible essential small businesses can request up to two free face coverings per employee by filling out the request form at ctcovidresponse.org.
Rules Outlined for Business Sectors to Reopen in Phase 1 (State of CT) – Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening is Wednesday, May 20. The Governor emphasized that the decision to open at the discretion of each business owner. Guidelines that restaurants, offices, hair salons and barbershops, retail stores, outdoor museums and zoos must follow are detailed in the above link. Businesses will be required to self-certify online before opening
Volunteers Still Needed in Connecticut (State of CT) – More than 5,000 medical volunteers and 1,600 non-medical volunteers have helped out across Connecticut with healthcare and human services support during the COVID-19 crisis. The state continues to ask for volunteers to help nonprofits supporting seniors, individuals with intellectual disability and behavioral health programs. For information on volunteering in your community visit the state Coronavirus Volunteer page.
Friday, May 8, 2020
Governor Shares Visual Progress Report for State’s Reopening (State of CT) – Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration is utilizing seven criteria in its consideration for Phase 1 reopening efforts.
The link above shows more-detailed graphics. View the daily press briefing video.
Medical Provider Referral for COVID-19 Tests Temporarily Lifted (State of CT) –An executive order has temporarily stopped the requirement that patients receive referral order prior to receiving a COVID-19 test. The order also allows pharmacists to administer tests. Testing is free. The announcement comes with a reminder that each of the state’s COVID-19 testing sites require appointments be made.
Amtrak Passengers Must Wear Masks Starting Monday, May 11 (Amtrak) -The requirement applies in stations, on trains and on Thruway buses. “Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms, or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement.” Amtrak is reducing available bookings to half of normal capacity to provide more spacing between passengers.
CDC Shares ‘Do your part to slow the spread’ Video – (CDC on Youtube and Facebook) The CDC shared a video that reinforces precautions to keep in mind as we look forward to state’s reopening and restrictions easing. It’s still important to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people; use drive-thru, pick-up, or food and prescription delivery options; and avoid non-essential travel, shopping trips, and social visits.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
State Requests Inputs on Business Reopening Efforts (State of CT) -The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development is seeking input from small business owners and workers regarding reopening plans. The Small Business Reopening Survey for business owners aims to understand current status and implications of reopening. The CT Worker Sentiment Survey for small business employees aims understand how employees feel returning to work.
Joint Federal/State Task Force Formed to Combat COVID-19 Fraud (State of CT) – Representatives from the FBI and Connecticut’s Chief Attorney office have formed a task force to investigate and prosecute COVID-19-related fraud in the state. Common types of fraud cases include price gouging, health care and government program fraud, consumer and small business scams, lending scams, charities fraud, and cyber fraud. Connecticut residents may report COVID-19 related fraud to the task force by contacting the Office of the Attorney General at email@example.com or by calling 860-808-5318. To report COVID-19-related fraud to the Department of Justice call their Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or visit www.justice.gov/disastercomplaintform.
CDC Shares Video on Managing Stress (CDC on Facebook) -The COVID-19 outbreak may be stressful for people. The CDC notes that common signs of stress and anxiety include changes in sleep and eating patterns, difficulty concentrating and worsening of chronic health conditions. Their video shares tips for managing stress here. Some common signs of stress and anxiety include: Changes in sleep and eating patterns, Difficulty concentrating, Worsening of chronic health conditions.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
K-12 Public Schools to Remain Closed to In-Person Learning (State of CT) – Connecticut Gov. Lamont announced Tuesday the cancellation of in-person classes for all K-12 public schools for the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will continue with distance learning plans through the end of the year. School meal plan offerings for eligible children will continue throughout this period. The structure of summer school programming is still being evaluated with guidance expected by the end of May.
Waivers Aim to Ease Access to Home Health Services Under Medicaid (State of CT) – Connecticut’s Department of Social Services commissioner has been authorized “to temporarily waive, modify, or suspend home health regulatory requirements.” This move aims to facilitate easier access to home health services by Medicaid members, allowing advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, in addition to physicians, to order services for payment.
Summer Camps Allowed to Open by June 29 (State of CT Facebook video) – The Commissioner of Early Childhood, working with the Department of Education and the State Reopen Advisory Group, has announced that summer camps will be allowed to open by June 29. Camps have been provided initial provisions on safety and hygiene precautions that must be followed if they decide to operate; view the memo.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Study Launched on COVID-19 Infections in Children (NIAID) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has launched the Human Epidemiology and Response to SARS-CoV-2 study (HEROS). The study aims to determine the rate of infection in children and their family members and if children are resistant to infection or are less prone to developing symptoms. “One interesting feature of this novel coronavirus pandemic is that very few children have become sick with COVID-19 compared to adults” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. Two thousand families across 11 cities will be followed for six months as part of this study.
Monday, May 4, 2020
CDC Updates ‘Discontinuation of Isolation’ for Patients Recovering at Home (CDC) – The CDC has increased the number of days required for isolation for COVID-19 patients recovering at home. For symptomatic people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, isolation requirements have increased from 7 to 10 days from day of first symptoms. For asymptomatic persons who tested positive, the 10-day isolation is required from day of first positive test result. “This update was made based on evidence suggesting a longer duration of viral shedding and will be revised as additional evidence becomes available.”
Joint Multi-State Strategy to Procure PPE and Other Medical Equipment Announced (State of CT) – A coalition of northeastern states (CT, MA, DE, NY, NJ, RI, PA) announced plans to work together to develop a regional supply chain strategy to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), other medical equipment and testing. “While the states will continue to partner with the federal government during this global and national public health crisis, they will also work together to identify the entire region’s needs for these products, aggregate demand among the states, reduce costs and stabilize the supply chain.” Teams will work to identify and scale suppliers across the country to meet the collective regional needs over the next three months.
Friday, May 1, 2020
Connecticut Announces Consideration of May 20 Reopening (State of CT) -Governor Lamont announced a potential phased-in reopening of the Connecticut economy, starting May 20. The release of each of these phases is contingent on performance of a number of criteria, including: a 14-day decline of hospitalizations, availability of sufficient testing, sufficient contact tracing capacity is in place; adequate protection of high-risk populations; adequate healthcare capacity in place; an adequate supply of PPE; appropriate physical distancing regulations in place. Connecticut is also closely watching the progress and results of states that have already opened. If criteria are met and no significant adverse COVID-19 spikes are experienced by other states who opened weeks before Connecticut, then the following will open on the May 20 Phase 1: (outdoor only – no bar areas), remaining retail, offices (continue work from home where possible), personal services (hair & nail only), museums, zoos (outdoor only), additional outdoor recreation (e.g., camping, mountain biking), and University research programs.
State Plans Free Medicaid Coverage of COVID-19 Testing and Visits for the Uninsured (State of CT) – The Department of Social Services is working on plans to provide free Medicaid coverage of COVID-19 testing and testing-related provider visits for uninsured state residents of any income level. Coverage is planned to cover visits incurred between March 18, 2020 through the end of the public health emergency. Additionally, emergency Medicaid coverage will be provided for COVID-19 testing and testing-related provider visits for Connecticut residents who meet financial eligibility requirements but do not qualify for full Medicaid due to their immigration status, including undocumented individuals. More detailed guidance, processes for enrollment, and claims processes are expected by mid-May.
CDC Updates ‘Return to Work’ Criteria for Healthcare Workers (CDC) -Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 (Interim Guidance). The update, applicable to healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, increases the days excluded from work from 7 days to 10 days. The CDC notes, “This update was made based on evidence suggesting a longer duration of cultural viral shedding and will be revised as additional evidence becomes available.”
Airlines Moving Toward Requiring Face Coverings During Flights (Various airlines) -Although the Federal Aviation Administration has not moved towards requiring passengers to wear face coverings on flights, a few major airline carriers are making their own decisions to require them. JetBlue, Delta, and United Airlines will require passengers to wear face coverings on flights, starting Monday, May 4. Frontier Airline’s policy is effective May 8, and American Airlines follows on May 11.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Preliminary Positive Results Announced for the Antiviral Drug Remdesivir (NIAD) -The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced that a government-sponsored study, led by Emory University, involving over 1,000 hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement, showed those who received remdesivir had a 31% faster time to recovery (11 days versus 15 days) than those who received placebo. Recovery was defined as being well enough for hospital discharge or returning to normal activity level. Investigators on the trial note work remains to be done, and that that remdesivir and antivirals in general are not a cure, but a tool to help “preventing the virus from making more of itself.” Learn more in this NPR interview.
Reminder That Free Rapid Testing Site in New Haven is Open Seven Days a Week (cvs.com) -Operated by CVS Health, in coordination with the State of Connecticut, the COVID-19 rapid test center is available daily. No referral is needed from a medical professional, but an appointment must be made in advance. The test is free and results are available within 30 minutes. To schedule an appointment, visit www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses and Schools (CDC) – The CDC provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. This information can also be applied to your home.
Look Out for New Nutrition Facts Labels on Packaged Foods (FDA) – In 2016, the FDA published new rules for the Nutrition Facts labels on package foods. Larger manufacturers were required to switch to the new label by January 1, 2020, while smaller ones have until January 1, 2021. FDA notes that “the pandemic has shifted many of our daily routines, including the ways we eat. Perhaps you have stocked up on packaged foods and find yourself cooking at home more than usual. As we adjust, you may want to think about ways you and your family can eat more healthfully.”
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Do Not Use Ultra-Violet (UV) Lamps to Disinfect Hands or Other Areas of Your Skin (WHO) – The World Health Organization stressed on social media that UV lamps should not be used to try to kill the novel coronavirus. View WHO’s resource page on the topic.
How Emergency Use Authorizations Make Important Products Available During Medical Emergencies (FDA) – The FDA can issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) during certain types of emergencies, like COVID-19. This short video explains how an EUA helps provide more timely access to drugs, diagnostic tests or other critical medical products that may help when there are no adequate, approved, and available options.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Daily Decreases in New Connecticut COVID-19 Hospital Admissions Since April 22 (State of CT) – In a press briefing broadcast on the state’s CT-N nation, Gov. Ned Lamont shared the seven-day “downslope” in COVID-19 hospital admissions. In his Twitter message accompanying the video the Governor noted, “The change in hospital admissions is a key indicator by which we can make determinations on reopening elements of our state. We’re about seven days into a downslope. Working with our state’s health experts, we’ll continue monitoring this data as we develop our reopening plans.”
Child Care Program for Frontline Workers Accepting Applications (State of CT) -The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood has launched the CTCARES for Frontline Workers Program to help frontline workers struggling with the costs of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. For individuals who must work outside of their own home for at least eight hours a week caring for people or providing in-person direct services and essential goods, the program offers payments to childcare providers. Applications are accepted through May 22, 2020. To apply, call 1-800-505-1000. Details here.
FDA Continues to Work to Safely Increase Availability of Hand Sanitizer (FDA) – More than 1,500 manufacturers have registered with the FDA to produce hand sanitizer. The FDA Commissioner notes, “It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion.” The National Poison Data System reported a 79% increase in accidental hand sanitizer ingestion in March, compared to March 2019, with most incidents occurring in children five years and younger. The agency also urges consumers to be vigilant of products sold with misleading, unproven claims.
National Infant Immunization Week, April 25-May 2, 2020 (CDC) The CDC this year celebrates healthcare professionals across the country who work to keep children safe from vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit the above link to learn more about CDC’s guidance on maintaining childhood vaccination during these unusual times.
CDC Updates List of Possible COVID-19 Symptoms (CDC) – Symptoms now include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. These conditions join the existing known symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Monday, April 27, 2020
Free Face Coverings Available (Limited Supply) for Essential Small Business Workers (State of CT) – Governor Lamont, along with Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and its affiliate CONNSTEP, have secured a limited supply of face coverings to distribute for free to eligible, essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Employers can request up to two face coverings per employee while supplies last. Visit this page to apply.
Medicaid-enrolled Providers May Perform Telehealth Through Audio-Only Methods (State of CT) – The state order expands the definition of “telehealth services” to include use of audio-only telephone for Medicaid-enrolled providers serving new or established Medicaid recipients
Additional SNAP Benefits for Children in Free and-Reduced-School Lunch Programs (State of CT) – Governor Lamont announced $72.3 million in new SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) food benefits for children in free and reduced-price school lunch programs. Benefits of$267.90 per child enrolled in the program are expected to be automatically deposited in Electronic Benefits Transfer accounts beginning in mid-May. Further updates will be posted at www.ct.gov/snap.
Residents Encouraged to Consider Non-Perishable Food donations to State’s Food Pantries (State of CT) -Governor Lamont encourages Connecticut residents with extra canned and other non-perishable food items to make a donation to a food pantry in their area. To find local food pantries, visit www.211ct.org/foodpantries.
Saturday was National Drug Takeback Day (State of CT) – Although public takeback events were cancelled, the public is encouraged to take this time at home to safely dispose of unwanted medications. For guidance, read the press release.
Reminder for Safely Picking Up Takeout Food (CDC) – The CDC issued a reminder on Facebook for picking up takeout food while slowing the spread of COVID-19: 1) Order & pay online or over the phone when possible; 2) Accept takeout without in-person contact or stay at least six feet away from others; 3) Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after bringing home your food. Learn more about taking essential trips during this time.
Thursday, April 23
CDC Issues Proactive Recommendation for Pets (CDC – No cause for alarm) – Two pet cats in separate locations in NY state tested positive for COVID-19. “No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.”
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7DD: Modification of 36-Month Age Limit for Birth-to-Three Services (State of CT) – The Office of Early Childhood has been authorized to temporarily allow those children who are receiving birth-to-age 3 intervention services, who reach the age of 36 months during this public health crisis, to continue access to services during the period of class cancellations.
Connecticut Receives $2 Million Federal Grant for Mental Health Services (State of CT) – The grant, awarded to the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will support service needs over the next year and a half, focused on improving the health outcomes of those individuals affected by COVID-19.
Wednesday, April 22
FDA Authorizes First COVID-19 At-Home Sample Collection Test Kit (FDA) – The FDA has approved a COVID-19 home test kit. LabCorp plans to make its “Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test” home collection kit available to consumers in most states, with doctor’s orders, in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, April 21
SNAP Participants Receive Second Round of Emergency Food Benefits (State of CT) – The second round of emergency food benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were delivered to nearly 108,000 households on Monday. Authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, the extra food benefits are being distributed to those households that are not currently receiving the maximum SNAP benefits allowed for their household size.
Guidance on Washing Fruit and Vegetables During COVID-19 (WHO via Facebook) – Before handling produce, wash your hands with soap and water. Then simply wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly with clean water, especially if you eat them raw.
Caution Urged When Using Cleaning Supplies (CDC) – Calls to U.S. poison centers about cleaner and disinfectant exposures during January- March have increased by 20% compared to the previous two years. CDC advises precautions including following label directions.
Monday, April 20
Connecticut Requires Face Coverings in Public (State of CT) – Effective today at 8pm, Connecticut requires all individuals to wear a face covering/mask in public wherever close contact (six feet distance) is unavoidable. The executive order is not required for “anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition, a child in a child care setting, anyone under the age of 2 years, or an older child if the parent, guardian or person responsible for the child is unable to place the mask safely on the child’s face.” View the CDC’s guidance for making and wearing a mask here.
Friday, April 17
Connecticut Opens First Rapid-Testing COVID-19 Testing Center in New Haven (State of CT) – The state’s first rapid testing site is now open and located at the former Gateway Community College campus at Long Wharf, 60 Sargent Drive, New Haven. Up to 750 tests per day will be conducted, seven days a week. Results are available within 30 minutes and testing is at no charge to the public. Anyone seeking to be tested must first pre-register on line: www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing. The New Haven Health Department will also provide assistance to those residents without internet access by calling their emergency line at 203-946-4949 for assistance
Thursday, April 16
Tips on Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic (FDA)– The good news here is that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Wednesday, April 15
Fully-Insured Health Plan Members Can Receive COVID-19 Treatment With No Out-of-Pocket Costs (State of CT) – Connecticut Insurance Department announced that fully-insured plan health plan members, including those with high-deductible health plans, can now receive COVID-19 testing and treatment with no out-of-pocket costs. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, together known as HUSKY Health in Connecticut, are also fully covering COVID-19 testing and treatment without any cost-sharing. Consumers should take note that there are some differences among commercial plans and policyholders should contact their insurer or employer to obtain additional information on important details.
Tuesday, April 14
How You Can Make a Difference During the Coronavirus Pandemic (FDA) – Including information on the US Food Supply, and why having 1-2 weeks worth of food at home is truly enough.
FDA Updates Q&A on Hand Sanitizer Usage, Warnings and Supply Chain. (FDA, April 13)) Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about hand sanitizer.
Monday, April 13
Looking Ahead (State of CT) – Announcements from Gov. Lamont on the formation of a Northeast Coalition and a Connecticut Advisory Group to help guide the ultimate lifting of restrictions and reopening of the Connecticut economy.