Governor Lamont Provides Update on Coronavirus Prevention Efforts
Still No Confirmed Cases in Connecticut; State Continues Outreach to Schools, Health Departments, and Residents on Prevention
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today said that the State of Connecticut is continuing to coordinate its prevention efforts and organize necessary resources to respond to the potential novel coronavirus pandemic. While there are not any confirmed cases in Connecticut, the governor is urging residents to take all necessary precautions and follow guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since January, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has taken the lead for state response and has been working to coordinate with the federal government, local health departments, hospitals, and educational institutions to provide to provide guidance on how to prepare, including through weekly briefing calls with local health departments. DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell is in Washington, D.C. today meeting with her federal counterparts and other state health directors to coordinate response. Yesterday, DPH issued guidance to all K-12 schools and local health departments for dealing with potential cases.
DPH’s official website with updated information on state response to coronavirus, as well as resources for Connecticut schools, healthcare practitioners, and residents, can be found by visiting ct.gov/coronavirus.
“Although we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus on Connecticut, we must be prepared for any situation and that is why we are continuing to take all necessary precautions to protect Connecticut from this dangerous virus,” Governor Lamont said. “This is serious, and we are working with our health care system and schools to ensure that our efforts are coordinated and people are prepared.”
Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell this week took the step of adding coronavirus to the list of reportable diseases, requiring all physicians in Connecticut to report new cases or patients under investigation to DPH. This will help with active disease monitoring and surveillance, as well as coordination nationally with CDC. The State Public Health Lab in Rocky Hill is also slated to receive a kit from CDC to be able to test for coronavirus locally. The first kit – once prepared and tested – will be able to test results from 800 people for coronavirus.
Travelers who spent time in mainland China within 14 days before arriving in the United States are being diverted to land at one of eleven airports in the U.S. (Bradley International Airport is not one of these airports). In the airport, they are asked questions about their travel and whether they have been in contact with anyone with coronavirus. They also have their temperature taken and are asked about their health.
Travelers who have been in Hubei Province, China, or are sick, are referred for medical evaluation and are not allowed to continue to their final destinations. Travelers who have not been in Hubei Province and who are well are given information about self-monitoring and continue to their final destinations. For those who arrived on or after February 3, 2020, the local health department at their destination is notified and will contact them to discuss self-monitoring and other recommendations.
CDC has informed DPH of several Connecticut residents who are not showing any symptoms of virus but who have recently returned from traveling to China and are now in a 14-day period of self-monitoring for signs of coronavirus. This includes daily health and temperature checks, checking in with health care providers, while staying at home and away from work or large gatherings of people other than to purchase groceries or other essential items. People with a travel history to China and no symptoms can return to work or school after the 14-day self-monitoring period is complete. There is no clearance process. People without symptoms are not tested for the virus.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses common in both humans and animals. These viruses usually cause mild to moderate respiratory illnesses. The source of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is suspected to be animals sold at an open-air market, in Wuhan, China; the virus is possibly a previously unrecognized bat coronavirus. It appears to cause a more severe illness progressing to pneumonia.
The most recent guidance from the CDC about the outbreak is available here.