Rosenthal Issues New Code Red Message, Tourism Bureau Begins Touting Take-Out, Delivery Services
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal issued a new Code Red message to the community Friday, April 3. And the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Newtown remained static overnight and into Saturday with Health District Director Donna Culbert continuing to monitor 47 residents with the novel coronavirus.
Statewide Saturday, Fairfield County continued to surge with 2,824 of the 5,276 positive cases statewide, in stark contrast to eastern regions like Windham County with 31 cases and one fatality compared to Fairfield County's 86 deaths.
Across Connecticut at 4 pm Saturday Governor Ned Lamont reported 1,033 patients are currently hospitalized and 165 residents have died.
Among 215 nursing homes in CT, 55 (26%) have had at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. A total of 281 nursing home residents with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 have been identified of whom 90 (32%) were hospitalized and 33 (12%) have died.
In his fifth Code Red message to the community Friday, the first selectman picked up on a subject he touched upon earlier in the day during his video outreach message produced in partnership with The Newtown Bee regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), particularly face masks.
(View the video outreach message by CLICKING HERE)
"Consistent with messages shared by the President and our Governor we are in crunch time in our battle against this virus," Rosenthal said in the phone message. "The next two weeks are especially critical, as case numbers climb and test our healthcare system.
"I had the opportunity to speak with Newtown resident and Nuvance CEO, Dr John Murphy, earlier this week on how Danbury Hospital is managing this crisis and I want to convey how fortunate we all are to have John and all of the men and women working long hours, at risk to their own health, to keep us safe," the first selectman continued.
"Now three plus weeks into the social distancing effort, we have to continue to do our part for them. Cases in our community are nearing 50 and as I mentioned last week, the number of cases are still what I would call a lagging indicator and understate what is likely more widespread infection in our town.
Keep Space Between
Rosenthal recommended Newtown residents remain vigilant and continue to keep space between us, avoid gathering with people you don’t live with and wash your hands regularly," he said.
"I’m sure you have all heard recent suggestions about wearing masks in public. As such, we have had requests for masks from residents. Personal Protective Equipment is a precious commodity and at this time and we are preserving our limited supply for our first responders. Additionally, our healthcare workers need this gear.
"Effective today, the Governor has ordered that grocery stores and other essential stores reduce their occupancy by 50 percent," Rosenthal related. "We can help cooperate and limit our exposure by shopping for our neighbors and especially those that are particularly vulnerable to this illness."
He also urged Newtown residents to continue checking on our friends and neighbors and to support our local businesses. "We are wired for social interaction so I know this process has been anathema to who we are but we cannot quit now."
In closing Rosenthal shared a Bible passage passed on to him by the Health District director that says, “Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.”
New State Announcements
On Saturday afternoon, the governor also shared the following new information:
FEMA notified the state that it has approved the Lamont administration’s request to add housing for survivors of domestic violence in the reimbursement guidelines it previously approved for Connecticut, which authorized the state and municipalities to receive a 75 percent reimbursement for the costs associated with providing non-congregate housing first responders and health care workers who temporarily need a place to live separate from family or roommates, and also for those who are homeless.
“Ensuring safe housing for survivors of domestic violence in locations that are less congested than what many of the locations that typically offer these services usually provide is critical at this time, and I thank FEMA for approving our request to cover these services,” Governor Lamont said.
As of Friday afternoon, Connecticut’s public schools have served more than one million meals under the emergency meals programs the State Department of Education launched last month in response to Governor Lamont’s order for classes at schools to be canceled statewide. A total of 128 school districts are serving meals at 407 locations, including out of Newtown Middle School.
In accordance with federal requirements, the state is operating two emergency meals programs to ensure children do not go hungry during this crisis:
*Under one program, certain school districts are authorized to serve meals only to students who attend their schools or any other child 18 years of age and younger residing in the same household.
*Under the other program, certain school districts are authorized to serve meals to any child 18 years of age and younger, regardless of which town or city the child lives or what school they attend.
Households should check with the Newtown school district for information on the time and location the meals are being served, and further guidance regarding their distribution.
(Read more here: Feeding Newtown Public School Families In Need)
The State of Connecticut’s Tourism Office has shifted its focus from its usual promotional activities to adjust to the public health emergency and Governor Lamont’s order for residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home.”
The state’s official tourism website, CTVisit.com, has been adapted to reflect this new reality and is featuring a number activities residents can either do in secluded locations or safely at home through virtual experiences.
This includes the creation of a list of restaurants, breweries, and vineyards that are now offering take-out and delivery services; and also a collection of online, virtual experiences about Connecticut landmarks, museums, and attractions that provide educational opportunities to engage children while staying safe at home.
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 211 for assistance. The hotline and corresponding website is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access.
It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.
The Newtown Bee is continuing to provide and mirror information and messages coming from local and state agencies on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Newtown residents can get more details by visiting:
*Town of Newtown COVID-19 web page - CLICK HERE
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CLICK HERE
*World Health Organization - CLICK HERE
Please check in regularly, share, and follow the newspaper’s hyperlocal coverage through the remainder of this public health emergency.