COVID-19 Situation Daily Newsletter - Monday, March 23rd 2020

“Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

- U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams

Source: NBC News

This newsletter is compiled into five sections. Each divided into two parts 1) Recent updates, new information posted in the past 24 hours and 2) Ongoing Information, information previously shared in this newsletter that continues to be relevant:

  • Major: Developments impacting all sectors
  • Community: Developments impacting Stamford residents.
  • Business: Developments impacting Stamford businesses and business owners.
  • Services: Developments and closures impacting services provided to Stamford residents including: City services, utility services, nonprofit services, etc.
  • School: Developments impacting students, teachers, staff, or residents who rely on services provided by Stamford Public Schools.

† Denotes today’s newsletter has recent updates posted in this section.

All of this information and more — including situation updates from previous days, contact information for health officials, etc. — can be found on the City of Stamford’s website at http://www.stamfordct.gov/covid19. Residents can also follow the City of Stamford’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for periodic updates. At the bottom of this newsletter is a comprehensive list of contact information for frequently asked questions.

Major Updates

Recent updates:

  • Mayor David Martin signed two executives orders relating to City employees and COVID-19:
  • All non-essential businesses are closed effective 8 p.m. tonight (March 23rd), as a result of Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order No.7H signed on Friday.
  • A list defining “essential businesses” was released by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development on Sunday evening. This list refers to Governor Ned Lamont’s executive order closing all “non-essential businesses” effective 8 p.m. March 23rd (today). Below are a selection of industries/businesses the City of Stamford has received inquiries about (full list available here):
    • Non-essential businesses may continue activities that are conducted off-site (e.g. a customer’s home) and/or telecommuting or working from home.
    • Healthcare and related operations, including:
      • Hospitals
      • Nursing homes, or residential health care facilities
      • Pharmacies
      • Veterinary and animal health services
      • Walk-in care health facilities
    • Infrastructure, including:
      • Airports/airlines
      • Commercial trucking
      • Education-related functions at the primary, secondary, or higher education level to provide support for students, including distribution of meals or faculty conducting e-learning
      • Hotels and other places of accommodation
      • Telecommunications and data centers
      • Transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, for-hire vehicles, and vehicle rentals and garages
    • Retail, including:
      • Gas stations
      • Convenience stores
      • Grocery stores
      • Pharmacies
      • Pet and pet supply stores
    • Food and agriculture, including restaurants/bars (provided compliance with all applicable executive orders is maintained)
    • Services, including:
      • Essential government services
      • Financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and check cashing services
      • Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
      • Government owned or leased buildings
      • Laundromats/dry cleaning
      • News and media
      • Trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing
    • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, including food banks and homeless shelters.
    • Construction
    • Services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residencies and other buildings:
      • Building cleaners or janitors
      • Disinfection
      • Emergency management and response
      • Law enforcement
      • Pest control services
      • Security and maintenance
    • Services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, including
    • (hundreds more)

Ongoing information:

  • All information about the City of Stamford’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency can be found at http://www.stamfordct.gov/covid19
  • A list of services, businesses, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency is available under the “Services” section of this newsletter.
  • The City of Stamford would like to remind residents of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for protecting yourself from potential infection:
  • Mayor Martin said the City’s testing capacity demand could reach up to 10,000 tests per week. Currently, the three sites listed above result in a testing capacity of approximately 2,500 per week.
    • Mayor Martin announced the City was working with medical practitioners willing to open more testing sites to test all residents — including residents who still need health insurance.
    • Mayor Martin announced the City was pursuing streamlining the testing process so residents only had to call a single number to receive instructions on how to get tested and where.
  • Governor Ned Lamont ordered all non-essential workers must stay home. The order will go into effect Monday, March 23rd, at 8 p.m.
    • Stamford’s local government has been in the process of implementing a continued-operations plans for City departments. These plans identify essential personnel and outline what roles can be performed remotely.
      • Vital departments continue to operate (such as 911 Communications, Department of Highways, and Department of Sanitation & Recycling, etc.), while others will operate with reduced staff or have closed altogether. See this newsletter’s “Services” section for more details.
  • Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced Connecticut’s presidential primaries would be moved from April 28th to June 2nd.
  • President Donald Trump signed The Emergency Families First Coronavirus Response Act H.R. 6201 into law on Wednesday, March 18th. The bill will go into effect within 15 days.
    • The bill would — among many other things — provide reimbursements for small businesses (50 or fewer employees) who provide 14 days of additional paid sick leave to employees during a public health emergency. This benefit can be applied retroactively to sick leave taken before the bill was signed into law.
    • Following the bill’s passage, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated the department’s proposed $1 trillion relief plan, including $250 billion for cash payments to American citizens

Community Updates

Recent updates:

  • Connecticut Transit continues to operate its normal schedule.
    • All non-ADA passengers are asked to board busses through the rear door until further notice. During this temporary rear-door boarding, passengers are not required to pay a fare.
  • Some Stamford food retail stores reported demand returned to normal on Sunday, March 22nd, which could allow inventories to replenish in the coming week.
    • Food retail stores have reported depleted inventory (specifically toilet paper) as a result of a massive increase in demand over the past week. There have been no reports of supply chain shortages.

Ongoing information:

  • The City of Stamford maintains a dedicated webpage for updates on the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Please note some information previously listed in this section (Community Updates, Ongoing Information) has been moved to “Services Update, Ongoing information.”
  • Access Health Connecticut — the state’s official healthcare marketplace — is now enrolling residents for healthcare coverage. This special enrollment period ends April 2nd. Connecticut residents can call 855.365.2428 to sign up for healthcare coverage.
  • Available testing for COVID-19 (all sites require an appointment):
    • Cummings Park. Operated by Murphy Medical Associates. Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Schedule an appointment online or call 203.658.6051.
    • Bennett Medical Center Campus. Operated by Stamford Health. Open Monday through Friday, 8a.m. to 4 p.m. Schedule an appointment by calling 203.276.4111.
    • 2001 West Main Street. Operated by DOCS Urgent Care. Opening by the end of next week (March 27th). Schedule an appointment online or call 203.298.4600.
    • Residents concerned they may have symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately call their primary care physician.
      • Symptoms include: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
      • Primary care physicians will make an assessment and prescribe testing if appropriate.
      • Residents with symptoms of COVID-19 should notify medical professionals before visiting health care institutions. Medical staff need to prepare personal protection equipment prior to examining patients.
    • Residents who DO NOT have Primary Care Physicians, but DO have health insurance, can contact their health insurance provider to obtain names of approved Primary Care Physicians to contact.
      • Stamford Health recommends residents call 1.877.233.9355 to receive a list of all physicians who can provide prescriptions of testing.
    • Residents who DO NOT have Primary Care Physicians OR health insurance may contact one of the following organizations:
      • Optimus Health Care: 203.327.5111
      • Community Health Center of Stamford: 203.323.8160
      • Americares: 203.658.9500. Not accepting new patients.
      • Family Centers Health: 203.717.1760. Not accepting walk-ins.
      • Access Health CT: 855.365.2428. Only available through Thursday, April 2nd.
    • Stamford Health recommends residents call Stamford Health’s COVID-19 hotline: 203.276.4111.
  • The City is actively pursuing more testing options for Stamford residents:
    • Independent testing sites may be available throughout Stamford. Connecticut’s Department of Public Health provides licenses to medical practitioners to conduct testing. These practitioners are not required to notify — or “register” — with the City of Stamford to operate testing sites.
  • Stamford Health announced Stamford Hospital is no longer allowing visitors to “protect the health and wellbeing of patients, staff, and community.”
    • Pediatric and NICU patients will be allowed 2 parent/guardian visitors. Labor & Delivery patients will be allowed 1 designated support person.
  • Residents who are recently out-of-work as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency can apply for unemployment benefits with the State of Connecticut.
  • Legal actions enforcing evictions or foreclosures have effectively been put on hold as a result of Connecticut's Judicial Branch's Continuity of Operations plan announcing all state courts will only hear matters identified as "Priority 1 Business Functions."
  • Attorney General William Tong reminded residents to submit complaints of price-gouging directly to his office.
  • Stamford’s Board of Finance has delayed all budget hearings for the next two weeks, including all Fiscal Committee budget hearings.
    • The City of Stamford has used web conferencing for internal meetings since last week and may utilize online web conferencing for board, commission, and public hearing meetings when appropriate.
  • Inventory at local food retail stores may have been depleted due to higher demand, but at this time store owners anticipate restocks of their inventory in the coming days.

Business Updates

Recent updates:

  • Stamford grocery stores are encouraged to implement reminders of social distancing inside their store, including:
    • Tape marks six feet apart near cash registers where customers may group up.
    • Reminders repeated over the store’s intercom system of safe social distancing while shopping.
  • Stamford-based Synchrony Financial announced they would donate $5 million to support communities affected by COVID-19.
    • Of the $5 million, $1.5 million will be allocated to national hunger relief nonprofits including Feed America’s COVID-19 Response Fund to help food banks across the country.
    • The remaining $3.5 million will go to local organizations.

Ongoing information:

 

Services Updates

Recent Updates:

  • Stamford’s Department of Recycling and Sanitation household textiles in pink bags program is suspended until further notice.
    • Scale House and Katrina Mygatt Recycling Center continue to follow their normal schedule, however social distancing procedures have been implemented.
  • List of closed organizations, institutions, and businesses (below) has been updated to reflect new dates and additional closures.

Ongoing information:

  • The City of Stamford maintains a dedicated page for closures and services affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The following businesses are STILL OPEN:
    • Gas stations.
    • Grocery stores.
    • Pharmacies
  • The following businesses have been closed until further notice:
    • All restaurants and bars. Takeout and delivery options still available.
    • All gyms and movie theaters.
    • All amusement parks, bowling alleys, and indoor walkways for large shopping malls.
    • All body care facilities.
  • The following City services have be affected by COVID-19:
    • The City of Stamford’s plastic bag ordinance is suspended until further notice.
    • Stamford Government Center is closed to all visitors who do not have an appointment.
    • Vital departments will continue operations, including: Public Safety (Police, Fire), 911 Communications, Highways Department, and Recycling & Sanitation Department.
    • Engineering Department: All permit applications and payments must be submitted online.
      • Documents for plan review can be left in the drop-box located in the Government Center Lobby.
    • Building Department: Emergency protocol available on the department’s webpage.
      • Building permits: Submit online.
      • Inquiries: Contact David Nelson at 203.977.1194.
    • Land Use Department: General information available on the department’s webpage.
    • Activities of 10 or more people at City parks and fields are prohibited. City staff will post clear signage at parks and fields.  
      • Residents must take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing contact with other individuals. This includes canceling sports, group activities, and avoiding any event or outing with 10 or more people.
    • The City of Stamford has suspended pay-to-park requirements for all City metered parking spaces until further notice.
    • The City of Stamford’s 120-hour parking violation has been suspended until further notice.
    • Stamford’s Town Clerk’s Office is providing free internet access to land records data for the duration of the public health emergency.
    • Stamford’s Tax Assessor’s Office’s Elderly and Totally Disabled Homeowner programs will not require appointments for the duration of this public health emergency.
    • Stamford Police Department’s Records Room is closed to the public until further notice.
    • Boards and Commission meetings have received “procedural relief” due to Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7I and may:
      • Extend budget adoption deadlines
      • Suspend in-person requirements for various meetings/public hearings
  • The following State services have been affected by COVID-19:
  • The following utilities have been affected by COVID-19:
  • The following is an alphabetical list of organizations, institutions, and businesses impacted by COVID-19:
    • Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy: Closed until Monday, March 30th.
    • Boys and Girls Club of Stamford: Closed until further notice.
    • Building One Community: The building will remain open.
      • Classes, group programs & events are canceled effective immediately for an indefinite amount of time.
    • Chelsea Piers: Closed Friday, March 13 through at least Tuesday, March 31.
    • Children's Learning Center:  Closed Monday, March 16 through at least Friday, March 27.
    • Ferguson Library: Closed Friday, March 13 to Monday March 30.
    • Islamic Center of Stamford: Closed until further notice.
    • Italian Center: All group fitness, youth programs and group swim lessons are postponed until further notice.
    • King School: Closed until March 29th.
    • New Covenant Center: Effective March 17th, Contingency meal service protocols in place. Café temporarily closed to the public.
      • Only staff and volunteers allowed into the facility. Lunch and dinner meals will be distributed on bagged or boxed meal-to-go basis.
      • Food pantry distribution will still go forth on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with a reduction on how many enlisted guests can shop at a time.
      • Individuals with day-of-shopping appointments will be checked-in and escorted to sit and wait in café area.
    • Schoke Jewish Family Services: Closed as of March 17th. Freedberg Kosher Food Pantry will remain open, providing pre-packaged bags available for pickup outside the building. Counseling services provided through telephone sessions.
    • Stamford Jewish Community Center: Closed through Friday, March 27th.
    • Stamford Museum & Nature Center: Closed to the public until further notice.
    • Stamford Police Department: All fingerprinting services provided will be temporarily suspended.
    • Stamford Public Schools: All schools will be closed through Friday, April 10th.
    • Stamford Recreation: Closed until further notice.
    • Stamford Senior Center: All Senior Center programs and activities suspended as of March 12th.
    • Stamford YMCA: Closed until further notice
    • Town Clerk’s Office: Appointment only (essential business only)
    • UConn Stamford: Campus closed until further notice, classes will be held online for the remainder of the semester.
  • Several supermarkets announced morning hours will be reserved for elderly residents who are more at-risk for COVID-19 infections.
    • Cingari’s Grade A ShopRite Supermarkets in Stamford will reserve 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for customers 65 and older.
    • Laroccas Supermarket will reserve 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for customers 60 and older.
    • Acme Markets will reserve 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday for customers 60 and older.
    • Stop and Shop Supermarkets will reserve 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. for customers aged 60 and older.
  • The following is a list of services available for low-income residents:
    • Person-to-Person Food assistance. Groceries and fresh produce, protein, and dairy are available to residents with income below 235% Federal Poverty Guidelines, or employees furloughed due to COVID-19.
      • Please call 203.655.0048 to make an appointment.
      • Visit https://p2phelps.org/ for more information.
      • Stamford’s location is 425 Fairfield Avenue, Building 1, Suite 111, Stamford, CT 06902.
      • Person-to-Person on Wheels mobile pantry serves Stamford neighborhoods with fresh produce, protein, dairy, tuna, beans, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, soups, fruits & vegetables, pasta, and rice. The mobile pantry is available at the following times and neighborhoods:
        • Mondays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Yerwood Boys & Girls Club, 90 Fairfield Avenue.
        • Mondays, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Stamford Manor, 26 Main Street.
        • Tuesdays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ferguson Library South End, 34 Woodland Avenue.
        • Tuesdays, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Shippan Place, 521 Shippan Avenue.
        • Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Domus, 83 Lockwood Avenue.
        • Thursdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Building One Community, 75 Selleck Street.
    • Person-to-Person Emergency Financial Assistance: Caseworkers meet with clients to determine eligibility for emergency financial assistance for rent, security deposits, utilities, and small emergency expenses. Residents can call 203.655.0048.
  • Stamford-based SilverSource provides resources to seniors. Stamford seniors — or individuals interested in volunteering — can contact 203.324.6584. Resources include:
    • Individual Assistance & Emergency Support: Serving seniors in need of housing stability or healthcare needs. Social work consultations are taken by phone.
    • Prescription Deliveries: Seniors currently on the prescription program will continue to receive medications with the support of pharmacy delivery services.
    • Grocery Deliveries: SilverSource has set up pop-up food pantry/distribution centers to support homebound seniors with grocery deliveries. Volunteers and staff make front door drop-offs and utilize delivery services.
    • Medical Transportation: SilverSource continues to provide free transportation to essential medical appointments. A rigorous wipe-down is done of the transport vehicle between each passenger trip.
    • Senior Wellness Check-ins: Staff and volunteers connect with older clients by phone to ensure they are well and reduce isolation.

Help Stamford’s community:

  • Connecticut’s American Red Cross has requested residents consider donating blood. A map of American Red Cross chapters in Connecticut is available here.
  • Building 1 Community compiled an Amazon wish list for essential items needed for the community, including detergent, soap, and more.
  • Food bank donations are requested for The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. The economic impact of this public health emergency will disproportionately affected residents who are most in need.
  • Volunteers are needed locally for the Medical Reserve Cops — a national network of medical and public health professionals who assist communities with public health and emergency response.

School Updates

Recent updates:

  • Governor Ned Lamont announced all Connecticut schools will remain closed until at least April 20th.
  • The following locations will no longer serve Grab-and-Go meals, families can pick up meals at any other school:
    • Star Center (Recreation Center), 1170 Shippan Avenue
    • Building One Community, 75 Selleck Street
    • High School
      • AITE, 411 High Ridge Road.
      • Westhill, 125 Roxbury Road.
    • Middle Schools
      • Turn of River, 117 Vine Road.
      • Scofield Magnet, 641 Scofieldtown Road.
    • Elementary Schools
      • Toquam Magnet, 123 Ridgewood Avenue.
    • Additionally, the following two schools will no longer serve affordable meals after Friday, March 27th:
      • Stamford High School, 55 Strawberry Hill Avenue.
      • Cloonan Middle School, 11 West North Street
  • All locations serving Grab-and-Go meals will switch to a three-day schedule beginning on Monday, March 30th:
    • Monday: two breakfasts, two lunches per student.
    • Wednesday: two breakfasts, two lunches per student.
    • Friday: three breakfasts, three lunches per student.
  • Connecticut’s standardized testing requirements are suspended, following the federal government’s announcement on Friday allowing school testing to be canceled or postponed.
    • This includes Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and School Day Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
    • Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be available online.  

Ongoing information:

  • The City of Stamford maintains a dedicated webpage for updates about Stamford Public Schools.
  • All Stamford Public Schools are closed until Friday, April 10th.
    • Stamford Public Schools’ “Distance Learning Plan” was approved by Connecticut’s State Department of Education. As a result, out-of-school teaching sessions will contribute to the state’s requirement for a minimum of 180 school days per school year.
    • Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero is monitoring the extent of the COVID-19 public health emergency and will announce if there is an extended closure of Stamford Public Schools.
  • Stamford Public Schools will continue to provide grab-and-go meals from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to anyone under the age of 18. Residents can pick up their meal from any of the following locations:
    • Elementary Schools:
      • Davenport Ridge, 1300 Newfield Avenue.
      • Hart Magnet, 61 Adams Avenue.
      • Julia A. Stark, 398 Glenbrook Road.
      • K.T. Murphy, 19 Horton Street.
      • Newfield, 345 Pepper Ridge Road.
      • Northeast, 82 Scofieldtown Road.
      • Rogers International School, 202 Blachley Road.
      • Roxbury, 751 West Hill Road.
      • Springdale, 1127 Hope Street.
      • Stillmeadow, 800 Stillwater Road.
      • Strawberry Hill, 200 Strawberry Hill Avenue.
      • Westover Magnet, 1 Elmcroft Road.
    • Middle Schools:
      • Cloonan, 11 West North Street. (Until March 27th)
      • Dolan, 51 Toms Road.
      • Rippowam, 381High Ridge Road.
    • High Schools:
      • Stamford High School, 55 Strawberry Hill Avenue. (Until March 27th)
    • Community-based Organizations and Programs:
      • Stamford Public Schools Anchor at Harbor Landing, 68 Southfield Avenue.
      • Yerwood Center, 90 Fairfield Avenue.
      • Chester Addison Center, 245 Selleck Street.
      • Trailblazer (Domus), 83 Lockwood Avenue.
      • Faith Tabernacle Church, 29 Grove Street.

City of Stamford Contact Information / Frequently Asked Questions

  • Questions relating to COVID-19 testing, infections, and quarantine: City of Stamford’s Department of Health at 203.977.4398 (after work hours call 211) or [email protected].
  • Questions relating to Stamford Health/Stamford Hospital: City of Stamford Medical Advisor Dr. Henry Yoon at [email protected].
  • Questions relating to environmental cleaning or personal protective equipment: Director of Lab James Federici at 203.977.4378 or [email protected].
  • Questions relating to schools and daycares: Nursing Supervisor Pat Caldwell at 203.977.4370 or [email protected].
  • Questions relating to restaurants, hotels, motels, rooming houses, or pools: Environmental Inspector Gail McRae at 203.977.5122 or [email protected].
  • Questions from the press: City spokesperson Arthur Augustyn at 203.977.5115 or [email protected].
  • Questions from business owners: Director of Economic Development Thomas Madden or [email protected].
  • Questions about food distribution or food insecurity: Director of Social Services Ellen Bromley at 203.977.4112 or [email protected].
  • City of Stamford’s pre-recorded COVID-19 hotline: 203.977.8840.
  • All other questions: Department of Health at 203.977.4398 or [email protected].
  • Other contact information:
    • State of Connecticut’s COVID-19 information hotline: dial 211.
    • Stamford Health’s COVID-19 hotline: 203.276.4111.