Connecticut: 1st coronavirus case reported; Gov. Lamont issues notice of actions & policies

via Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont:

Governor Lamont Announces First Positive Case of Novel Coronavirus Involving a Connecticut Resident

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) State Laboratory has confirmed the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) involving a Connecticut resident. The patient, a resident of Wilton who is 40 to 50 years of age, is being treated at Danbury Hospital. The person most likely became infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 during a recent trip to California and sought medical care shortly after returning to Connecticut.

This presumptive COVID-19 case is not related to the COVID-19 case involving a Danbury Hospital employee who is a resident of New York State that was announced on Friday, or the COVID-19 case involving a community physician who made rounds at Bridgeport Hospital and is also a New York State resident that was announced on Saturday.

This case is considered a presumptive positive case until it is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Extensive contact tracing is being done on this case. All people who have had direct, face-to-face contact with this person are being instructed to stay home and self-isolate. Risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is considered low for people who had contact with an individual who does not have COVID-19 and does not have symptoms. In other words, a contact of a contact is considered low risk.

Data updates as of 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020:

  • Number of Connecticut COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive cases): 1
  • Number of people who had negative test results at the Connecticut DPH State Laboratory: 29
  • Number of people for whom test results are pending: 8

“We have been expecting for some time that a Connecticut resident would become infected with COVID-19, so this should not come as a surprise to anybody,” Governor Lamont said. “We wish this patient a full recovery and we know he is being cared for by highly competent medical teams. My administration and the Department of Public Health are working around the clock to help conduct contact investigations for this case and any others who test positive in the future. I encourage anyone with questions about how to protect yourself and your family from this virus to go online at ct.gov/coronavirus to obtain important guidance and other information or call the 2-1-1 info line.

“Now is a time when we need to look after our health and change some of our habits in order to reduce the spread of infection,” the governor said. “Avoid shaking hands with people to stop the spread of germs. Wash your hands with soap and clean commonly touched surfaces. If you start to feel ill, call your medical provider for guidance. If you are traveling, go online to our site to see the latest guidance. If the travel is not essential, you should reconsider.”

Dr. John Murphy, president and CEO of Nuvance Health, the hospital system that includes Danbury Hospital, said, “First, we want our patient and their family to know that we are here for them, and to our other patients, staff, volunteers, and communities, we are working around the clock to contain the spread of COVID-19. Second, it’s important to emphasize that this patient is in no way related to the hospital employee from New York who tested positive for the virus. This patient’s infection is connected to recent out-of-state travel. We understand there is a lot of concern. Please know that we have been preparing for this new outbreak for the last several weeks, and we have years of experience effectively dealing with infectious diseases.

“Our readiness for COVID-19 cases at our hospitals is thorough and standardized across our health system,” Dr. Murphy said. “We have been, and will continue to work closely with local and state health departments and follow guidelines for preparedness and care. We want to reassure our communities that we intend to continue operating our hospitals with minimal interruptions, while we implement new policies to ensure the health and safety of everyone.”

Key messages for the public:

  • People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
  • If you were with someone who does not have symptoms, the risk of transmission is very low.
  • There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Connecticut, such as the flu and the common cold. Having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19.
  • People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the virus (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were a contact of a positive case of COVID-19 (or have traveled to country with community transmission, such as China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan).
  • Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19.
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
  • People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit ct.gov/coronavirus or call 2-1-1.
  • Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Connecticut.
  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

Lamont also issued a notice to all state emloyees:

This morning I sent the following email to all State of Connecticut executive branch agency employees announcing the implementation of some actions in our offices that will significantly and proactively escalate measures to prevent the spread of #coronavirus.

— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) March 9, 2020