Archive | Hartford

As New COVID-19 Deaths Grow, Lamont Considers Executive Order On Masks


By Patrick Skahill, CTPublic Radio

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday that he is considering an executive order spelling out when and where Connecticut residents should wear face masks in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Despite a few flickers of hope that Connecticut was rounding the bend on COVID-19 cases, Lamont said Wednesday that virus infections continue to grow, with nearly 200 newly reported deaths.

“If you can keep your social distance, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Lamont said. “If you’re walking down the block and you’re by yourself, that’s fine. If you get to a crowded group, wear a mask. If you go into a store … wear a mask.”

Lamont said the masks don’t need to be medical quality face coverings. A cloth bandanna or handkerchief will suffice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance recommending people wear face coverings in certain situations to protect others from contracting COVID-19. Evidence shows asymptomatic people may be able to spread the virus to others, the CDC said.

“This is the way that we can get this virus — stop it dead in its tracks — and help this state get moving again,” Lamont said.

As of Wednesday, nearly 2,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut. The state reported an additional 197 deaths, which Lamont said was attributable to a numerical backlog in reporting — not a one day death spike.

Still, hospitalizations are growing. In New Haven County, the number of people hospitalized from COVID-19 surpassed 600 on Wednesday.

As he works to contain the virus in New Haven, Mayor Justin Elicker signed an emergency order Wednesday that will require the use of face coverings in essential retail businesses, including grocery stores, big-box stores or wholesale clubs, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and package stores.

Elicker’s order also specifies that business owners may refuse customers not wearing facemasks. The order will go into effect on Friday morning.

“Wearing a mask is an important way to protect your neighbors, family members, and others from contracting COVID-19,” said Elicker, in a statement. “We are fast approaching 800 positive cases in the Elm City … Please stay home as much as you can and stay safe.”

Millions In federal aid slated for Connecticut airports 

While Bradley International Airport remains open and domestic flights are operating, the Connecticut Airport Authority, which runs Bradley, said many of its airline partners have reduced schedules or dropped their flights completely. To help mitigate similar stoppages nationwide, the government released a multi-billion dollar relief program aimed at shoring up operations at U.S. airports impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aer Lingus, Air Canada and Spirit Airlines have temporarily stopped all operations from Bradley,” said the CAA’s Ryan Tenny in an email Wednesday. “Our other airline partners continue to adjust operations on a daily basis…we are currently experiencing over a 95% decrease in passenger traffic.”

Roughly $28.5 million of the federal aid package will go to Bradley, according to a joint statement from Connecticut’s congressional delegation. The money can be used for airport capital expenditures, operating expenses such as payroll and utilities, and debt payments.

“The impacts to our operations will likely persist for months to come,” said Kevin Dillion, executive director of the CAA in a statement. “This assistance is an essential piece of the solution.”

In addition to Bradley, Tweed-New Haven will receive roughly $1.1 million, and Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport, which is owned by the city of Bridgeport, will get about $150,000.

UConn Health using patient blood to fight COVID-19

As doctors continue to seek new ways to fight the novel coronavirus, UConn Health announced Wednesday that several employees who have recovered from COVID-19 are now in the process of donating their blood to help critically ill patients. The trial will test if the antibodies in that blood could potentially attack the virus and help patients who are sick with COVID-19 more rapidly recover.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved four healthcare systems for the study,including the Mayo Clinic and Trinity Health Of New England, which runs St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. UConn Health said Wednesday it’s joined the effort using a protocol developed by the Mayo Clinic.

“The use of convalescent plasma is not at all new to medicine, and can be traced back to the 20th century,” said Mauricio Montezuma, site principal investigator for UConn Health, in a statement. “Data on convalescent plasma in COVID-19 is limited; however, two small reports from China are promising.”

Before any donor blood would be transfused to coronavirus patients, it will be tested for several things, including virus-resistant antibodies, UConn Health said.

If the blood is suitable, the plasma will be donated.

Donors must have tested positive for coronavirus, be asymptomatic for 14 days, and have a subsequent negative test for the disease.

‘No cost’ life insurance offered to frontline healthcare workers

Medical professionals in Connecticut and Massachusetts who are risking their lives to providecare to patients infected with the novel coronavirus could soon be eligible for free life insurance, state officials said Wednesday morning.

COVID-19 Resources Page - Bullet Points

The no-cost, three-year term life insurance policy would be for medical workers employed at a licensed hospital, an urgent care center, or with an emergency medical services provider. The workers must have exposure to COVID-19 patients.

The life insurance policy, which is offered through Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, would provide up to $25,000 in no-cost benefits if the worker is between the ages of 18 and 50. Workers between the ages of 51 to 60 will receive a no-cost $10,000 death benefit. Lab technicians, custodial staff, maintenance crews, cafeteria workers and security personnel will also be considered for coverage, according to state officials.

More details and information on enrollment availability is on the MassMutual HealthBridge webpage.

Support requested for domestic violence and sexual assault victims

A bipartisan group of 39 U.S. senators, including Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), is calling for more federal funding to be made available to support programs for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The $2 trillion coronavirus relief package already approved by Congress includes about $47 million for some domestic violence services, but no funding was allocated for sexual assault and domestic violence support programs operated by U.S. Department of Justice.

Local police and representatives of support services around the U.S. are reporting increased numbers of calls for help from victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The senators seeking more funding for such programs warn that “abusers are using COVID-19 to isolate their victims, withhold financial services and refuse medical aid.”

Murphy and Blumenthal, along with their colleagues, are asking that any additional relief legislation related to the pandemic include money for sexual assault service providers, law enforcement, transitional housing and other support services.

Connecticut seeking full federal disaster funding for pandemic costs

Gov. Ned Lamont and the state’s congressional delegation are asking that the federal government reimburse Connecticut for 100% of the state’s emergency spending relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald J. Trump has issued a federal disaster declaration for Connecticut as requested by Lamont, but that would only provide the state 75% federal reimbursement for state costs.

“The size and scope of this public health emergency is unprecedented,” Lamont said. “If approved, this request would bring much needed additional financial assistance to the state and our municipalities.”

In his request, Lamont said the state has already spent about $500 million on pandemic-related programs and services, money that wasn’t in the state budget. The governor said current projections are that Connecticut state government spending on COVID-19 issues “will at least triple to $1.5 billion.”

Relief requested for local farmers

As states across America adopt social distancing mandates aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19, the economic wiring of many local farms has unraveled.

Traditional buyers like nearby restaurants or schools have closed, and many farmers markets have shut down.

In response, the federal CARES Act sets aside $9.5 billion, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use to provide support to farmers across the nation.

Last week, senators Blumenthal and Murphy wrote to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, advocating that a portion of that money go to local food producers.

Additionally, the senators said they want the USDA to issue direct payments to qualified local farmers that are equal to 25% of annual revenue, up to a maximum of $25,000.

“For those local food producers who can provide information regarding actual COVID revenue loss and added costs, additional disaster assistance should be made available,” the senators wrote.

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Hartford Hits Grim Reality With COVID-19, First Infant Death


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford has likely set a grim and new global record as it struggles to contain its own Coronavirus outbreak –  the youngest victim to die from the illness passed away in the city in April.

It is reportedly the first around the world.

Just shy of seven-weeks old, the infant girl was reported to be in an unresponsive state when rushed to St. Francis Hospital, according to officials. Though doctors and nurses tried desperately to resuscitate her, Chief State Medical Examiner James Gill confirmed the child’s death on Thursday in an email.

“The infant did test positive for the COVID-19 virus and an autopsy was done at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” Gill wrote.

While medical officials say they can’t confirm the final cause of death until a necessary battery of tests is performed, the news has already rippled throughout the state. With the death of someone so young from the illness a rarity, Gov. Ned Lamont addressed the “tragic milestone” in a press conference.

“Probably the youngest person, ever, to die of COVID,” he recently informed viewers, “has died here in Connecticut.”

Urging people to continue practicing social distancing, Lamont joined an increasingly loud chorus of elected officials asking for the public’s help – including Mayor Luke Bronin. In a press conference Friday, Bronin announced a troubling new statistic: the 120 now-confirmed COVID cases in Hartford marks a 50 percent increase from just two days ago. In response, he said, his administration would be enforcing new, stricter measures.

“We are stepping up enforcement efforts to require social distancing,” he said. Specifically, inspectors will be “assessing compliance with social distancing requirements” at many stores still open throughout the city.

As the virus slowly burns its way through communities across the country, Hartford’s steady increase in cases has been thoroughly tracked and documented. While cases are spread widely throughout, pinpointed statistics on everything from the number of cases and deaths, to changes in the rate of infection, have been essential in informing the government’s response. Those statistics aren’t compiled in Hartford however. Instead they make their way through a web of hospitals and state officials before hitting the Mayor’s desk. Hartford’s Director of Health, Liany Arroyo, explained how that network functions in a statement:

“We receive information about cases and fatalities from the State Department of Public Health, which receives data from hospitals and laboratories. The numbers we get are directly from the State, which compiles information and inputs it into a statewide database which our local Health Department accesses multiple times a day.”

Analysis of that database has led city officials to embrace more stringent rules, concluding that the outbreak will get worse before it gets better. While Bronin hopes his new measures will eventually help decrease the number of cases, he struck a somber tone about the near future.

“We’re going to be in this for a while,” he said Friday. “We’re going to be seeing increases for a while.”

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COVID-19 Local, Resources for Hartford


The Hartford Guardian is working to keep you up to date about daily breaking news that educate and inform Hartford residents. Please check back as we continue to alert you of ways to cope with the corona virus epidemic.

Can’t get be at a hospital to test for the coronavirus? Take a telehealth test and find out if you have the virus. Click here: TELEHEALTH TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS.

FREE RIDES TO COVID-19 TEST SITES: Call 311 for more information or 860-757-9311.

Feel isolated at home? Lonely? Get together online for a virtual social soiree: Click here.

CLICK HERE FOR : HEALTH GUIDE ON THE CORONA VIRUS

Find out more about the city of Hartford’s effort to educate the public about the Coronavirus: See link here: https://coronavirus.hartford.gov/

MOBILE FOODSHARE: Foodshare.org/mobile

FOODSHARE 24 HOUR HOTLINE: 860-856-4321

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS : filectui.org

Check on Gov. Ned Lamont’s effort to help Connecticut residents stay up to date: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

COVID-19 RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Updates

Covid-19 in Connecticut, Latest Data

Hartford Healthcare Updates

WHO daily report

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In These Times, CT Journalists Demand Transparency, Free Speech and Accountability


By Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

In these times, information is crucial. So is transparency, free speech and accountability. That’s because Gov. Ned Lamont recently issued his “stay home, stay safe” executive order, and the state is on lockdown. Therefore, the order effectively quarantined many residents infected by the coronavirus. And other residents stayed home to stay safe. Moreover, state officials adopted other efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, such as text messages. For instance, the state recently sent out a CTALERT message about the COVID-19 virus; however, many residents did not receive that message.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

In fact, some residents with prepaid phones did not get an alert from the Connecticut Emergency Alerting and Notification system. However, those on two-year phone contracts apparently received the text messages. This implies that about 30 percent of Connecticut residents, including the elderly population on fixed incomes, did not get any text alert. That’s alarming.

The role of the press is, heretofore, extremely important in helping government to disseminate information. Freedom of the press is the cornerstone  of democracy. Government workers and other civilians should play a part to ensure that they are transparent and that media get unrestricted access to news and information. This can only help retard the growth of the coronavirus.

Therefore,government workers, who help to suppress a journalist, must be held accountable, and perhaps be ceremoniously fired in these times of unprecedented hardship because of disruptions to many lives. That disruption includes job losses, medical emergencies, homelessness, and other social ills. The suppression of the Fourth Estate, such as refusing to send media advisories to a journalist or failing to respond to freedom of information requests, should be seen as a treasonous offense.

No journalist should be persecuted and suppressed for criticizing the government, or speaking truth to power. In fact, politicians and other officials who are sensitive to criticism by the press should not enter office in these times. It’s unfortunate that some politicians and other officials are still in office covering up malfeasance in this state since 2014. In fact, Hartford City Hall; now lacks transparency and suppresses the media–a first in the almost 20 years of observation by this publication. Unprecedented.

As a result, Connecticut journalists are calling on the General Assembly to pass a special resolution to protect journalists from those who harm them in the quest to hold elected officials accountable. Even if the perpetrators include other journalists, who may covertly suppress their competition.

The effort to retard the spread of the coronavirus must be dealt with from all angles. That includes an informed press–no matter the size or scope. Transparency of government officials, their intent and actions, is of the utmost importance because it will help gain the confidence of many scared residents relegated to work from their homes.

The role of the press in informing the citizenry is a treasured tenet of democracy. Therefore, we are calling for special resolutions from the General Assembly to help protect the fourth estate in Connecticut—in these times and beyond—as journalists work to ensure a free and robust democracy.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is the editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian, the first award-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan, hyper-local news organization in Connecticut. It aims to build communities by increasing the level of civic participation in the state. Before that, she worked as a journalist for 20 years at various newspapers and television stations in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

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Bloomberg’s Campaign Coming to Hartford


HARTFORD — Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Campaign staff will host a meet-up with newly announced Connecticut co-chairs: State
Representatives Chris Rosario and Kerry Wood, and in-state campaign staff.

Bloomberg’s team will meet up on Feb. 6 at Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt, 140 Huyshope Avenue, Hartford, Conn. The event will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The announcement of an event in Hartford comes on the heels of Mike
Bloomberg 2020 announcing that State Representatives Rosario and Wood have joined the campaign.

NORFOLK, VA – NOVEMBER 25: Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a press conference to discuss his presidential run on November 25, 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia. The 77-year old Bloomberg joins an already crowded Democratic field and is presenting himself as a moderate and pragmatic option in contrast to the current Democratic Party’s increasingly leftward tilt. In recent years, Bloomberg has used some of his vast personal fortune to push for stronger gun safety laws and action on climate change. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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The Hartford Guardian Celebrates 17 Years


Donate Today. Go to www.thehartfordguardian.com/donate

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NBC’s The Voice Winner Javier Colon Coming to Hartford’s Infinity Hall


HARTFORD — NBC’s The Voice season one winner Javier Colon will perform at Hartford Infinity Hall this Saturday.

One of the state’s most famous Afro Latinos, Colon stays true to his Connecticut roots. This Saturday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. at Infinity Hall in Hartford, Colon will have a sort of homecoming concert for Connecticut residents, he said in an interview with The Hartford Guardian.

Statford native Javier Colon

A Stratford native, Colon was a musician when he appeared on the first season of NBC’s hit show, “The Voice.” His coach was Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, who helped him win the competition.

Colon, 41, has also released several albums and continues to share his “acoustic soul” with the world.

He is an alumnus of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music.

DATE: Dec. 21, 2019 8 p.m.

VENUE: Infinity Music Hall, 32 Front St. Hartford.

COST: $29-$54.

TICKETS: https://www.infinityhall.com; 866-666-6306.

Javier Colon

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MDC to Hold Meeting Tonight On Rate Increase


GREATER HARTFORD — The Metropolitan District Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to proposed a water rate increase of almost 15 percent for metropolitan area.

The MDC meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday at the District Headquaters board room at 555 Main Street in Hartford.

The regional water and sewer authority’s proposed budget for 2020 includes raising the water rate from $3.50 per hundred cubic feet to $4.0, at 14.57 percent increase, MDC officials said.

Sewer rates will also increase by $1 per month, increasing from $6 to $7.

Some officials believe the rate will be a burden to most residents in the area and there is a need for greater oversight to ensure residents are not fleeced.

The suggested oversight committee would be through the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), a state agency.

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Gov. Lamont Directs Flag Lowered for Sandy Hook Victims


HARTFORD — Seven years ago, the world witnessed one of the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.

A 20-year-old named Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty children and six adults, including his mother, in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. His weapon of choice were a Bushmaster XM15 and a Glock 20SF. Before driving to the school, Lanza killed his mother at their Newtown home. After the shooting, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, police said.

On Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that he is directing U.S. and State of Connecticut flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Dec. 14 in remembrance of the victims.

Nelba Marquez, Ana Márquez-Greene , and Jimmy Greene

Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags – including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise – should also be lowered during this same duration of time.

“We will never forget the twenty innocent, gentle children and six devoted educators whose lives were taken all too soon that terrible morning seven years ago,” Lamont said. “The tragedy that occurred that day is one of the worst in our history, but in its aftermath, we witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of humanity, hope, and kindness cascading into our state from over the entire world, spreading a message of love that we must proactively protect.”

One of the victims, six-year-old Ana Márquez-Greene, was the daughter of former Hartford residents: Nelba Marquez and Jimmy Greene.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz also shared condolences the families of the victims.

“Seven years ago, Connecticut was forever changed when 26 innocent people—six courageous educators and twenty loving children—were taken from their families and friends far too soon,” Bysiewicz said. “We will never forget the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting and today we send the love and prayers of the state to the Newtown community as it continues to heal from this painful wound.”

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State Police Arrest Hartford Woman for Overdosing Man


HARTFORD — A Hartford woman was arrested by the Connecticut State Police after a two-year investigation found she allegedly provided “acute heroin and cocaine intoxication” to a man who died of overdose.

Teresa Ann Derison

Teresa Ann Deriso, 38, of 820 Wethersfield Ave. Hartford was arrested for first degree manslaughter, after police discovered that Troop K in Colchester responded to an unresponsive 49-year-old man, who died on the scene of apparent overdose on Oct. 4 at about 6:25 p.m.

The unidentified man had a hypodermic needle in his hand when police found him in an apartment on Plains Road in Windham.

The office of the Chief Medical Examiner later determined the cause of death was “acute heroin and cocain intoxication.”

Police said Derison injected the man with a syringe containing narcotics because he was unable to do so himself.

Derison is currently serving time in York Correction facility. She was arraigned in Danielson Superior Court on Dec. 10 for $250,000.

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