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October 23 Weekly Update

Posted on October 23, 2020 by cthomas


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This week, I would like to share important updates, guidance and resources regarding COVID-19, this week’s PURA hearings on Storm Isaias response, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and upcoming local events.

COVID-19 Update

Updated COVID-19 Numbers

As of October 22, 2020, at 8:30 PM, the total of laboratory-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases reported among Connecticut residents is 66,052, including 63,376 laboratory-confirmed and 2,676 probable cases.

Please click here to view the most recent COVID-19 numbers, detailed by town and county.

It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, make sure you get tested, and stay home.

Travel Advisory Update: Arizona and Maryland Added

The regional travel advisory between Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York that went into effect in June and directs incoming travelers from states with a significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period, was updated on October 20 and now includes Arizona and Maryland.

The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

Anyone arriving in Connecticut from an impacted state who receives a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to arriving in Connecticut or after arriving in Connecticut is exempt from the 14-day quarantine period.

Passengers arriving at Bradley International Airport can be tested at a designated COVID-19 testing site in the baggage claim area. For more details, click here.

For more information about the changes and a full list of states and locations that meet these criteria, please click here.

Department of Public Health Creates Weekly COVID-19 Alert System, New Municipal Guidance

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has launched a new weekly, color-coded COVID-19 alert system for every city and town in the state, showing the average daily case rate per 100,000 population for the last two weeks. The new weekly alert level is also accompanied by municipal-level guidance on recommended actions for individual residents, institutions such as schools, houses of worship and community organizations, plus municipal leaders and local health directors.

The municipal level alert map will be updated every week and is available online. It is color coded according to the following criteria: Red level alert is for municipalities that have a two week average daily COVID-19 case rate higher than 15 per 100,000 population. Orange level alert is for municipalities with case rates between 10-14 per 100,000 population. Yellow alert level is for case rates between 5-9 per 100,000 population. Municipalities with case rates lower than five per 100,000 population will be colored in gray.

The Town of Fairfield has recently been classified as “red level alert” and the Town of Trumbull has been classified as “yellow level alert.” Please follow Fairfield’s website and Trumbull’s website for further alerts and updates.

You can view the overall statistics and guidance each week by clicking here.

CT CARES Small Business Grant Program

The Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program has been created to assist small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the economic downturn caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut that have fewer than twenty employees or a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million with a one-time grant of $5,000.

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) estimates it will begin accepting online applications the week of November 9, and all of the funds are anticipated to be disbursed by December 30.

Information on eligibility requirements, upcoming webinars, and other aspects of the program will be published on the state’s business portal at business.ct.gov.

COVID Relief Fund for the Arts

The State of Connecticut will be providing up to $9 million in grants to certain non-profit arts organizations in the state to help them recover more quickly from the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Utilizing federal CARES Act funding from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Office of the Arts will administer the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts program with the goal of supporting:

  • Arts non-profits for whom grants will make a difference in terms of survival or rehiring; and
  • Arts non-profits that have had to curtail operations for a period of time due to the pandemic and which have had limited ability to reopen due to pandemic restrictions and/or have had to pivot their service delivery due to pandemic restrictions.

Qualifying organizations will receive a base grant of $5,000. For organizations that have raised funds between March 10 and November 1, 2020, the program will offer a supplemental match of 50 percent of contributed income during that period. The maximum award for any organization is $750,000.

Arts organizations eligible for funding include:

  • Performing Arts Centers: Multi-purpose facilities for arts programming, including theaters that present live performances and/or live classes;
  • Performing Groups: Groups of artists who perform works of art (e.g., an orchestra, theater, or dance group). To qualify, the organization must either own the venue in which it performs and/or spend more than 20 percent of its annual operating budget on rental of space used to perform; and
  • Schools of the Arts: Organizations that have arts education as its primary educational mission (e.g. community art schools).

The Connecticut Office of the Arts will be accepting applications between October 23 and November 3, and all contracts must be executed by December 30. Additional information on eligibility requirements and the application process can be found on DECD’s website.

Connecticut’s arts and culture sector represents five percent of the state’s economy, generating $9 billion annually and supporting 57,000 jobs. The sector is integral to the tourism industry, with 69% of visitors coming to Connecticut for arts and cultural offerings.

PURA Hearings on Tropical Storm Isaias Utility Response

This week, the Public Regulatory Authority hosted three public hearings via Zoom where legislators and the public could share their concerns about UI and Eversource’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias in August.

You can view each of the hearings on demand at CT-N. I will be sure to keep you updated on any updates or decisions from PURA as they come.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer has affected countless women and families in our state, and spreading awareness about the importance of early detection is one of the best ways that we can combat this horrible disease.

I proudly co-sponsored HB 5208 in 2018, a bill that expands insurance coverage for 3D mammography and requires doctors to tell patients whether or not they have dense breast tissue – both measures that bring early detection options to women all over the state.

Please make sure to schedule and get a mammogram if you need one, and ask your doctor if you aren’t sure!

Upcoming Events

DEA Drug Take Back Day

In honor of the DEA’s Drug Take Back Day, I wanted to remind you that you can always drop off unwanted or expired medications at the Fairfield Police Department at 100 Reef Road. You can also search for other locations at DEAtakeback.com.

Safe medication disposal is an easy way that we can reduce the supply of drugs that can be potentially harmful to kids, the water supply and the landfill.

Accepted items:

  • Prescription Medication
  • Over-the-counter Medication
  • Pet Medication
  • Vitamins/Supplements
  • Patches and ointments
  • Medication samples

Not Accepted:

  • Inhalers
  • Needles (sharps)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Aerosol cans
  • Hazardous waste

Fairfield Eats (ongoing thru November 1)

Fairfield Eats is a special promotion to support and celebrate local restaurants, and is being offered in lieu of a traditional Restaurant Week this year. It allows foodies to partake in two weeks’ worth of deals. Special offerings include price fixe menus, family meal discounts, take-out options and the chance to win a $50 gift certificate from participating restaurants. Read more about the participating restaurants at www.experiencefairfieldct.org/eats.

DPH Halloween Guidance

The Department of Public Health has released guidance on how we can celebrate Halloween this year while continuing to limit the spread of COVID-19. Recommendations include one-way trick-or-treating, ideas for social distance parties, and the kinds of parties you should avoid.

The full outline can be found by clicking here.

Safety on our Roads – Pedestrians, Bicycles, Motor Vehicles

Especially as we prepare for Halloween activities, PLEASE remember to share the road. Whether you are driving a motor vehicle, out for a bike ride, or taking a walk, and please be alert and respect others doing the same.

Review these helpful Pedestrian, Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Safety Tips offered by the Fairfield Police Department.

Stay Up-to-Date

State Resources

The state has redesigned their Coronavirus website to make it more constituent friendly. The website carries useful information and resources for many stakeholders.

The site is updated regularly and includes a helpful “frequently asked questions” guide. I’m also providing a link to the executive orders issued to date by the Governor.

State’s coronavirus information site

Click here for frequently asked questions

Emergency Executive Orders issued by the Governor 

You can also sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.

Local Resources

Updates from the Town of Fairfield are available here and from the Town of Trumbull here.

I also provide regular updates on Facebook and will continue to provide updates as this public health emergency changes.

In the meantime, I welcome hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone 860-240-8700 or email laura.devlin@housegop.ct.gov.

In closing, please stay safe and stay home. Together we can continue to flatten the curve.