|Today, July 7, the state of Connecticut reported 57 new confirmed infections of COVID-19 among the state’s population. Those 57 positive cases came as the state administered 5,745 tests in total, leading to an average positive test rate of 1 percent. In the last day, no COVID-related deaths were reported, welcome news amid difficult months; however, 14 individuals were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 complications. While that means 83 Connecticut residents are now hospitalized, that figure is still drastically below figures from earlier in the pandemic. Overall, 47,033 people in Connecticut have tested positive and 528,130 tests have been administered.
While Connecticut’s 14-day averages show growth in COVID-19 across the state, the rate of transmission remains stable. The current 14-day average increase in COVID-19 positive tests is 12 percent, but that comes after weeks where that figure plummeted by as much as 50 percent. Two weeks ago, 79 average cases per day were reported; today, that number is 88 average cases. The state has exceeded 200 percent of testing required to adequately track transmission rate, and in the last two weeks, the rolling average of positive tests compared to all testing is under 1 percent.
For a town-by-town breakdown and other COVID-19 statistics, please visit: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus
Absentee Ballot Applications Sent To More Than One Million Connecticut Voters
More than one million Connecticut voters have received, and will receive, applications for absentee ballots in coming weeks, allowing them to vote in Connecticut’s August primaries without needing to visit a polling station. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to an executive order noting the virus could represent a threat to public health, any resident of the state is allowed to access an absentee ballot for the primary. Absentee ballot applications may be available to state residents for the November general election as well.
CT Now Recruiting Poll Workers
Recognizing that the August and November elections will have unique challenges related to COVID-19, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has announced a statewide effort to recruit poll workers for Connecticut’s primary and general elections.
COVID-19 has disproportionate, adverse effect on senior citizens, and the poll worker population in Connecticut and nationally tends to be older than the population at large, and also have more risk factors for COVID-19.
Interested voters should sign up at: myvote.ct.gov/volunteer
Three States Added to Connecticut’s Travel Advisory
Connecticut has expanded the list of states with a high COVID-19 infection rate that are now covered under the regional travel advisory. Governor Lamont announced a plan to try to keep coronavirus cases out of their states. Those who come into Connecticut from states with high infection rates of COVID-19, will have to quarantine for 14 days. Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma were added to the list bringing it to a total of 19 states that meet the criteria on the CT Travel Advisory. The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Reminder: Taxes Due July 15
The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services is reminding taxpayers that the deadline to file individual income tax returns and make payments for the 2019 tax year is Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The deadline was extended by 90 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The easiest way to file state income tax returns is online via the state’s Taxpayer Service Center, which is easy, secure, and free to use. The Department of Revenue Services website includes a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions that are updated regularly.
For more information, please visit: https://portal.ct.gov/DRS/Press-Room/Press-Releases/2020/Connecticut-Individual-Income-Tax-Returns-and-Payments-Due-July-15th
Phase 3 Reopening Postponed
Governor Lamont announced that he has indefinitely postponed Phase 3 of the state’s reopening, which was supposed to begin at some point this month.
Phase 3 would have allowed indoor private gatherings of up to 50 people; outdoor private gatherings of up to 250 people; outdoor organized gatherings with 15 feet of space blanket to blanket, and no capacity on attendance; and outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks) at 50% of fire capacity.
Instead, Phase 2 rules for gatherings will continue indefinitely: indoor private gatherings of up to 25 people; outdoor private gatherings of up to 100 people; outdoor organized gatherings with 15 feet of space blanket to blanket and a maximum capacity of 500 people; and outdoor event venues at 25% of fire capacity.
I’m Disappointed in Stop & Shop
Senate Democratic leadership recently took issue with Stop & Shop’s decision to prematurely end a surplus pay program for its employees that was implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I agree that Stop & Shop should continue this worthwhile program.
While transmission of the coronavirus has declined in Connecticut, COVID-19 transmissions do continue across the state to this day, and that puts grocery store workers on the pandemic front line. Stop & Shop officials even put out a press release in late May demanding that federal and state governments declare their employees to be designated as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.”
Stop & Shop had implemented a program in April that it called “appreciation pay,” giving employees in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island a 10 percent pay increase. But that program ended on July 4.
If you believe this program should continue, please speak with your local Stop & Shop store manager, or call their corporate customer relations department at 1-800-767-7772, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
DMV Resumes Select Testing and Registration Services
The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has resumed road testing services for driver’s licenses and new vehicle registrations at select DMV locations. Knowledge testing for motorcycle learner’s permits expected to resume today July 7 at the Bridgeport and Waterbury locations. Those who had appointments canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic are encouraged to reschedule their appointments.
Judicial Branch Plans To Resume Operations At Eight More Courthouses On July 20
The Connecticut Judicial Branch announced that operations at eight additional courthouses will resume effective Monday, July 20. They include:
· Geographical Area No. 2 courthouse at 172 Golden Hill Street in Bridgeport
· The Community Court and Housing Sessions courthouse at 80 Washington Street in Hartford
· The Judicial District at Meriden courthouse at 54 West Main Street in Meriden
· The Judicial District at Norwich courthouse at 1 Courthouse Square in Norwich
· The Judicial District at Waterbury courthouse at 300 Grand Street in Waterbury
· The Judicial District at Hartford courthouse at 95 Washington Street in Hartford
· The Judicial District at Tolland courthouse at 69 Brooklyn Street in Rockville
· The Judicial District courthouse at 90 Washington Street in Hartford
The expansion of operations will bring the number of courthouses where operations are currently being conducted to 25.
For more information on this announcement, read the press release issued by the judicial branch.
For additional information regarding overall judicial branch operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
New Community Service Program to Provide Help at Nonprofits in CT
Governor Lamont has announced a new community service program set to launch in August that will help allow folks to work and provide for needs in the community by addressing the growing demand of essential services provided by the state’s nonprofits. The program called ConnectiCorps will help these nonprofits in the areas of food, security, housing and antipoverty assistance. This AmeriCorps program will offer an opportunity for service in response to the coronavirus pandemic and provide a modest income and stipend for higher-education costs for young adults in Connecticut. ConnectiCorps is funded by a significant grant from the Hartford Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and an AmeriCorps state and federal grant approved by Serve Connecticut. ConnectiCorps members will serve at nonprofits across the state with a focus on the greater Hartford region. The program will look for members who live in the community they wish to serve. It will place 60 to 80 part-time members who will provide between 70,000 and 90,000 total hours of service at up to 20 nonprofit sites. They will be provided with uniforms, hand sanitizer, COVID-safety training and personal protective equipment. For more information about ConnectiCorps, please visit the Alliance’s website at ctnonprofitalliance.org