Updated: November 11, 2020
For guidance and updates on Connecticut’s coronavirus preparedness efforts, visit: ct.gov/coronavirus
To view 211’s Information & Resources to Help Communities #LiveUnited During the Coronavirus Pandemic, visit: https://uwc.211ct.org/covid19resources/
WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19, 2019-nCoV)?
The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and is currently known as coronavirus (COVID-19), meaning it is a strain of virus not previously seen in humans. This virus presents as an upper respiratory illness with symptoms similar to the common flu and is spreading person-to-person. The virus has caused death, but cases have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness including pneumonia, depending on a variety of factors that are not yet fully known.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19, AND WHO IS AT RISK
People with COVID-19 can have wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Some common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include a new loss of smell or taste, feeling tired, headache, chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after being exposed to the virus.
If you have these symptoms, you should check with your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for COVID-19.
COVID-19 may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. Some people, mostly those with underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems, require hospitalization.
People with COVID-19 who are cared for at home should:
For more detailed information, visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
DO WE HAVE CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN CONNECTICUT?
For an up to date list of current cases in Connecticut, visit: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus. The Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) is providing updated information on the state and federal response to the Coronavirus, as well as resources for Connecticut schools, healthcare practitioners, municipalities and residents.
The State of CT recently launched in November, ‘COVID Alert CT.’ COVID Alert CT is a free, anonymous, and voluntary exposure-notification smartphone app for individuals age 18+. This app. provides another step that individuals can take to protect themselves and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The app is being used in many other states already and is designed to use Bluetooth to track individuals that you have been in ‘close’ contact with (defined as being within 6 feet for more than 15 min in a 24 hour period). As individuals go about their day, the app uses Bluetooth to detect when another person with the same app comes within 6 feet. Your phone exchanges a secure random code with the other phone to record that they were near. If an individual tests positive for COVID:
For more information: Main ct.gov webpage that has a full list of FAQs about the app and is a great resource for answering any questions: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVIDAlertCT/WhatYouShouldKnow
For webpage with setup instructions for iPhone and Android users, link here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/COVIDAlertCT/Setup
WHERE HAVE THERE BEEN CONFIRMED CASES?
The CDC is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19. To view the global case numbers, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html#map. For detailed information on cases in the United States, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html
HOW IS CORONAVIRUS TRANSMITTED?
This virus can spread from person-to-person, in much the same way that cold or seasonal flu viruses spread. The virus mainly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period of time, usually 15 minutes or more. There is evidence that people can be contagious when they have no symptoms. However, people are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest. In general, the more closely a person interacts with other people, and the longer that the time a person spends around other people, the higher the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Spending time in large gathering, such as parties or other events, increases your risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
Transmission mainly occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads but we are learning more about this virus every day. This is why is it very important to wash your hands often and clean frequently touched surfaces often.
Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after being exposed to the virus.
HOW CAN I HELP PROTECT MYSELF
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus using the same protections you would use for seasonal flu and many other respiratory infections. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 or anti-viral medications to treat it.
The best ways to prevent getting COVID-19 are to:
Masks for the General Public in Connecticut:
Per Executive Order NO.9B which was signed 09/15/2020: Effective immediately any resident or business that is not adhering to the mask mandate that is in place can be fined by the local goverment agencies. Review the order for the specific guidelines and fine amounts.
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7NNN, masks or cloth face coverings that cover a person’s nose and mouth are required to be worn when in public and a six-foot distance is unavoidable, whether indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to their health because of a medical condition, children under age 2, older children, if the parent/guardian is unable to place the mask safely on the child’s face. Guidance on face coverings has been issued to the state’s businesses.
Information on the Center for Disease Control’s “Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19”, which includes how to wear a mask, how to make a mask for a face covering, how to clean masks, and more, can be found at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL? EVEN TO OTHER COUNTRIES WITH HIGH NUMBERS OF CONFIRMED CASES?
CDC has guidance on their website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html) for travelers inquiring about upcoming travel to certain countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
CDC COVID travel FAQ: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html
MANDATORY SELF-QUARANTINE FOR TRAVELERS FROM STATES WITH HIGH COVID-19 LEVELS ENTERING CONNECTICUT
The state of Connecticut has issued a mandatory quarantine for persons entering Connecticut from states with high rates of COVID-19 infections. Those from states with positive test rates exceeding a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
To see a list of states that are currently subject to the travel restrictions, go to https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel.
Exceptions will be granted to travelers who show proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test (not an antibody test) in the 72 hours prior to arriving in Connecticut.
All travelers who have spent more than a day in one of the affected states and are staying in Connecticut for more than 24 hours are required to complete the Connecticut Travel Health Form.
To access the Travel Health Form, visit https://appengine.egov.com/apps/ct/DPH/Connecticut-Travel-Health-Form.
Failure to self-quarantine or complete the form may result in a civil penalty of $1,000 for each violation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS THE VIRUS?
People are exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with someone who is contagious. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet, or 2 meters, of the person, while they are sick, or during the 48 hours before they developed symptoms, for a prolonged period of time. This is more than about 15 minutes. You might also have been exposed if the person sneezed or coughed while you were within 6 feet of the person for a shorter time. You could also be at risk if you had this type of contact with a person who did not have symptoms but tested positive, if you were in contact with the person either 48 hours before they had a positive test or during the 10 days after they had the positive test.
If you have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 through contact tracing, you will be contacted by a public health professional. The purpose of contact tracing is to prevent the virus from spreading to friends, family, and the broader community. This will normally happen as a phone call from ‘CT COVID TRACE’ or your local health department. You will be asked to stay home for 14 days after your last exposure and monitor your health. This is one way you can continue to do your part and help us fight COVID-19. You can find out more at https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/ContaCT.
The public health professional will ask how you are feeling and check in with you by email, text, or phone to make sure you are ok until it has been 14 days since your last exposure. They will also ask if there is anything that you need help with, in order to stay at home and help connect you to resources.
If you have been in close contact with someone who had COVID-19 you should talk to your healthcare provider or a public health professional about getting tested for COVID-19. If you need to find a testing site you can put in your zip code in the look up on ct.gov/coronavirus, http://ct.gov/coronavirus. While you are waiting for your COVID-19 test result, stay home away from others (self-quarantine) and monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19. If your test is negative, you should continue to stay home and for 14 days after your last exposure to COVID-19. This is important because symptoms can still appear up to 14 days after you’ve been exposed. If you develop symptoms during the 14 days, talk to your healthcare provider about being tested. You should stay home for 10 days after your symptoms began, it has been 24 hours since you had fever, and you are feeling better.
If an individual believes that they may have COVID-19 and is planning on visiting their physician or a local hospital, they should call prior to going to the medical facility to disclose their symptoms, travel history, and/or contact with an individual that with COVID-19. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and let the dispatcher know you may have COVID-19.
If an individual has contacted their health provider and has additional medical-related questions, they can contact their local health department, their insurance company, or one of the hospital COVID hotlines. Local health departments can be located on the state site: https://portal.ct.gov/dph/Local-Health-Admin/LHA/Local-Health-Administration—Site-Map.
IS THERE A VACCINE OR TREATMENT?
Currently, there is no vaccine or anti-viral treatment available to protect against COVID-19.
Link here to the 2-1-1 Database for additional “Frequently Answered Questions” (FAQs), and related information for Connecticut residents on various topics regarding COVID-19:
For additional 2-1-1 FAQ’s and State of Connecticut general information, visit
Mental health issues during this time can be difficult for oneself and/or family members. For information on tips to help you cope, visit the various mental health resources below:
World Health Organization:
Coronavirus “SCAM ALERT” Warnings
The Connecticut Departments of Consumer Protection (DCP), Public Health (DPH) and the Office of the Attorney General William Tong is warning consumers that scam artists are trying to take advantage of consumers’ during heightened attention to Coronavirus. Scam artists may post, email, and text to promote false information about “cases” of the disease in your neighborhood that do not exist, and bogus prevention medication in order to obtain your personal information and your money. They also may ask you to donate to victims through a sham charity or offer “advice” about false treatments for the disease.
For more detailed information, visit the link here to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection New Release: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/News-Releases-from-the-Department-of-Consumer-Protection/2020-News-Releases/Scam-Alert-Coronavirus-Inspires-Scam-Artists-to-Target-Consumers
Also, Connecticut residents are warned to be on the lookout for potential scams involving future stimulus checks from the federal government. After the federal government enacted a $2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state officials’ two offices are beginning to receive reports of scammers trying to steal American’s personal information and money.
Residents should follow these tips to prevent falling victim to a scam artist:
For more information, read the press release issued by the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut, and Attorney General William Tong are warning families about work from home scams that may be targeting vulnerable workers during this time. Press Release: https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/News-Releases-from-the-Department-of-Consumer-Protection/2020-News-Releases/Officials-Warn-Families-to-be-Aware-of-Work-from-Home-Scams
Any consumers who notice one of these scams or feel they have fallen victim to a scam should report it to DCP or the Office of the Attorney General as soon as they are able using the below contact information:
Individuals that want to check on the legitimacy of a charity can go to https://www.elicense.ct.gov/. All charities must register with the state.
If someone is concerned that they may have spotted a business or offer that seems like a scam, they can go to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker site: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/.
SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); World Health Organization; Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection; Connecticut Department of Public Health; Office of Attorney General; SAMSHA
PREPARED BY: 211/tb
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: November2020