3 Weeks Into The Coronavirus Pandemic, Testing In Connecticut Slows, And Deaths Double In 3 Days
It’s now been three weeks since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Connecticut. It seems like nearly every part of life has changed -- and it’s exhausting.
The economy is unrecognizable from a month ago. Millions of people filed for unemployment in the last week. Connecticut’s two tribal casinos are temporarily closed -- something that had never happened before. And the price for a gallon of gasoline has dropped below $2 in some places (I saw it in Lisbon, Connecticut earlier this week).
Meanwhile, yesterday was supposed to be Opening Day for Major League Baseball. The only option for baseball fans to get their fix was to watch replays of old games, or play video games to simulate what the season could have been.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus in Connecticut...
- At least 21 people have died from COVID-19. That is more than twice as many deaths reported on Monday.
- Gov. Ned Lamont has asked the federal government to declare a major disaster in Connecticut.
- Testing in the state is slowing down because of a shortage in personal protective equipment for health care workers.
By The Numbers
All numbers are as of March 26 at 9 p.m.
- 21 deaths from COVID-19
- 1,012 confirmed cases
- Fairfield County: 607
- New Haven County: 156
- Hartford County: 138
- Litchfield County: 44
- Tolland County: 33
- Middlesex County: 18
- New London County:13
- Windham County: 3
- More than 6,500 people tested
Additionally, Lamont has temporarily suspended the 10-cent tax on single-use plastic bags.
A lack of personal protective equipment may slow testing for COVID-19 in Connecticut. Gov. Lamont says he expects the number of tests to plateau soon. Lamont was joined at his press briefing by Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. “The next, most immediate job for the federal government, in conjunction with state governments, is to dramatically expand our capacity to make things that are necessary in order to meet the public health challenge,” Murphy said.
Some members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation opted to drive to Washington instead of flying for the debate and vote on the coronavirus stimulus package. Rep. Joe Courtney spoke to The New York Times about his road trip.
- Gov. Ned Lamont asked the federal government to declare a major disaster in Connecticut as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state surpassed 1,000. If approved, the aid would include assistance to residents and local governments, as well as disaster unemployment benefits, crisis counseling, disaster case management and legal services. Read the request here.
- Grocery store chains nationwide are installing protective plastic shields at checkouts to help keep cashiers and shoppers from infecting one another with the coronavirus. The see-through barriers are going up this week at Stop & Shop, Kroger, Walmart and others. Grocers say they're concerned because bagging and paying for food takes place well within the minimum 6-foot distance that public health experts are urging people to maintain.
Other Reads On The Coronavirus
- How Does the Coronavirus Behave Inside a Patient? - Siddhartha Mukherjee for The New Yorker
- The Biggest Distance-Learning Experiment In History: Week One - Anya Kamenetz for NPR
- On Tilt: The Perilous Future of Gambling in the Time of the Coronavirus- David Hill for The Ringer
Get Ya Fish ‘N Lobstah Now!
While most events have been postponed or cancelled, some things are opening earlier than expected because of the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, Lamont ordered the fishing season to be opened early. Opening day is normally the second Saturday in April. But that day is traditionally accompanied by large crowds, so in hopes of spreading people out, anglers can get on the water early.
Remember to get your fishing license and continue to practice social distancing, which is why some people like fishing in the first place. More information from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection here.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has this advice for keeping your distance:
If you’d rather just eat your seafood, Abbott’s Lobster in Noank is opening early for lobster rolls to go and some grocery products. The famous lobster spot normally wouldn’t open for another five weeks.
We will be opening our kitchen and take out window to provide support to our local community during these uncertain times. Abbott’s will be preparing our classic lobster rolls, along with a curated selection of fresh produce and groceries. Delivered to your car, in our lot! pic.twitter.com/LVFRZXhH1k— Abbott's Lobsters (@abbottslobster) March 25, 2020
Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay distant.