- Associated Press - Friday, March 20, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday signed an executive order that requires all “non-essential” businesses and nonprofit organizations, to shut down or have workers their employees to work from home, through April 22.

The restrictions, part of Lamont’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” message to residents, will take effect at 8 p.m. on Monday.

Businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, home health care companies and defense contractors, are not affected by the order. The list of essential entities includes 16 “critical infrastructure sectors” defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. State officials plan to release additional information before Monday’s deadline about which businesses are considered essential.

The Democrat said retailers not considered essential could face fines if they remain open. The order is similar to one imposed Friday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who ordered all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home and banned gatherings statewide.

“Don’t open your retail store unless you’re involved in some essential service like food, grocery stores or health care as in pharmacies, fuel as in gas stations.” he said. “I want to see all the rest of those nonessential services closed, closed for at least a few weeks or for the foreseeable future.”



The move comes as officials announced the state’s fourth fatality, a woman in her 80s who had been living in her home in Norwalk. She died after being treated for COVID-19 at Norwalk Hospital. Meanwhile, close to 200 people have tested positive, including the first resident of New London County. There have now been positive cases in all eight Connecticut counties.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.

TESTING INCREASES

Lamont said roughly 1,000 people a day are now being tested across the state. There are now a total 16 drive-through testing sites in the state, which require people to have a referral from their medical provider.

STATE LAWMAKER INFECTED

A Connecticut state representative from Windsor has tested positive for COVID-19, in the first known case of a lawmaker in the state coming down with the disease.

Democratic Rep. Jane Garibay, 64, announced the positive test in a message to fellow lawmakers.

“I wanted to let you know that I am self quarantining and resting comfortably at home,” she wrote Thursday.

Garibay did not say if she had any idea where she may have come in contact with the virus. The Legislature was last in session on March 11, and she developed symptoms four days later, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said.

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MEDICAL SUPPLIES

Connecticut’s congressional delegation is asking the federal government to provide urgently needed medical supplies as soon as possible to hospitals and health care workers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Some hospitals are only days away from running out of some personal protective equipment, the lawmakers said Friday.

The seven legislators sent a letter to officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday. They requested 250,000 each of respirator face masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, non-sterile gloves and disposable face shields from the national stockpile.

State health officials had requested supplies from the stockpile last week.

Lamont said Friday the state has received a small amount of supplies from the federal government, but “we have a long way to go there.” He urged industries that might such masks and other protective gear to donate or sell their supplies to the state, adding, “we’ll pay top price.”

Members of the public, businesses and philanthropic organizations that want to donate the equipment to help hospitals and nursing homes can fill out an online form.

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LAST RITES BY PHONE

A 91-year-old Connecticut man with the coronavirus who died this week was given last rites by an Episcopal pastor - over the phone.

The Rev. Peter Walsh of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Canaan told Hearst Connecticut Media that he made the unusual call on Wednesday to William Pike, who was being treated at Norwalk Hospital. Of the three state residents who have died from COVID-19, two were from New Canaan including Pike.

“I have done many creative pastoral things, but that was a first,” Walsh said. “I did last rites, then the family all had a moment to say they loved him.”

Pike died about 15 minutes after his family said their farewells as a nurse held a phone to his ear, his son, Daniel Pike, said.

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Associated Press Writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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