Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is open to the idea of working with neighboring states to have visitors self-quarantine for two weeks if they are coming from parts of the U.S. with high rates of COVID-19, he said Monday, noting Connecticut cannot take its current low infection and hospitalization rates for granted.
Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, possibly in conjunction with other states in the region, are expected to release details soon about a potential partnership where each would require people from high-COVID states to prove they've tested negative in the recent past, or else self-quarantine, Lamont said.
“We are talking about some sort of a regional quarantine. If these folks want to come to the New York metropolitan area, the Boston metropolitan area. Perhaps they should show that they’ve been tested in the very recent past or they should quarantine,” Lamont said. “We’re going to have some guidance on that very, very soon.”
Lamont, who spoke Monday with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the concept, said he could envision people who fly into one of the region's airports being notified of the need to self-quarantine unless they've recently tested positive. Although, he acknowledged it might be difficult for people to self-isolate for two weeks, considering they may not be planning to stay that long in the state.
“I see this in Maine and some other states where they’re just requiring the testing coming up,” he said. “I think it makes good sense.”
As of Monday, there have been nearly 45,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut, an increase of 27 since Sunday. Lamont said the state's rate of positive tests is slightly above 1%. So far, there have been 4,263 COVID-associated deaths, an increase of three since Sunday. The number of hospitalizations has declined to 140, nine fewer than on Sunday.
For most people, the virus causes 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 or lead to death.
In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:
BAR SHUT DOWN
New Haven officials have shut down a city bar after more than 1,000 patrons were witnessed late Saturday, a violation of the state's reopening rules for outdoor dining and outdoor events, as well as various health codes.
In a statement released Monday by Mayor Justin Elicker's office, Building Inspector Jim Turcio said he saw the patrons firsthand and asked the owners of 50’s Lounge LLC to close but they refused. Bars have not yet been allowed to open in Connecticut.
"We spoke to the owners of this establishment and made a request that they shut down immediately, with which they did not comply, and we had no choice but to shut them down as a result of these violations,” Turcio said.
Owner Joy Monsanto, who owns the establishment, told NBC Connecticut the event was held to celebrate Juneteenth and no one was inside the bar.
“So there wasn’t a thousand people in the establishment,” Monsanto said. “There may have been people sprinkled throughout the parking lot.”
The city's health director issued a cease and desist letter to the owners, alleging numerous violations including failing to ensure the attendees at a large outdoor public gathering remained at least 6 feet apart; failing to ensure they were wearing face masks except when dining; permitting the sale of alcohol without the sale of food; and operating in excess of 50% capacity on an outside deck, among other violations.
Lamont on Monday encouraged low-income families to seek help from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program as they file their tax returns, enabling them to possibly receive pandemic unemployment benefits and coronavirus economic impact checks. All residents who earn up to $56,000 in income are eligible for the services.
Residents can access service online at www.cahs.org/covid_relief or they can call 2-1-1 to find the nearest in-person VITA service site or the nearest virtual VITA portal that offer computers for residents to submit their claims. VITA estimates as many as 140,000 people across Connecticut may be eligible for some type of cash benefit from the government.