Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT – Gov. Ned Lamont said fewer people tested positive today than over the past few days, but fewer tests were done.

On Thursday 137 additional Connecticut residents tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,012. Of those 125 people were hospitalized and 21 died.

An estimated 6,500 people have been tested, but there’s no expectation that testing will increase in the near future because there is a shortage of personal protective equipment for medical personnel who do the testing.

“We need those nurses in the hospitals taking care of the critical care patients,” Lamont said.

Testing will begin to be limited to only those patients who need to be hospitalized.

Lamont urged people to be smart and quarantine themselves if they have any of the symptoms. That includes residents from New York who are leaving the city to rent homes and property in Connecticut and other neighboring states to escape the epicenter of the virus in the United States.

However, Lamont didn’t mandate New Yorkers self-quarantine like Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo who said she would mandate a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone traveling to her state from New York.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie

According to reports, Raimondo said she plans to station members of the National Guard at bus terminals and train stations and will require anyone arriving from New York to check in and give their contact information. In addition, state police have been instructed to flag down cars with New York state license plates as they come into Rhode Island.

Lamont said he would not be going that far.

In his latest executive order, Lamont restricts social gatherings to no more than five people at least through April 30.

Lamont is also lifting the 10 cent tax on plastic bags. He declined to ban reusable bags like Gov. Charlie Baker did in Massachusetts.

“It’s contrary to every environmental instinct that I’ve got in my core,” Lamont said.

The executive order prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.

Lamont said he wants to make the grocery store workers feel safe doing their jobs. He also said he wants to make sure grocery store workers have access to child care.

Child care has been a priority for healthcare workers, but Lamont said it should also apply to the 25,000 grocery store workers in Connecticut.

The new executive order also restricts the number of people going to gun shops by requiring them to have an appointment “in order to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible, effective immediately.”

The Senate passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus that included $100 billion for hospitals, but the medical supply chain is still being hampered by President Donald Trump’s decision not to use the Defense Production Act to get companies to manufacture the equipment.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said “the amount of time that states and hospitals have to spend rooting around for medical equipment, ventilators is barbaric. It is unnecessary. It is wildly inefficient.”

Because the federal government hasn’t taken over the supply chain, there are places hoarding this equipment and supplies that doesn’t need it as badly as New York and Connecticut.

“They are going to the highest bidder, not necessarily the place of greatest need,” Murphy said.

Lamont told Murphy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who joined him for his daily press briefing, that he hopes the federal government prioritizes resources based on needs.

“We’re close to the epicenter of the COVID crisis,” Lamont said referring to New York.

Blumenthal said under the federal legislation there’s a minimum each state gets, but “we will be fighting for more than Connecticut’s fair share because we will be bearing more than our fair share of the burden.”

Blumenthal said the United States is going to need another relief package.

“People are not going to want to go to restaurants, or malls or barber shops or baseball stadiums if this virus continues to grip the nation,” Blumenthal said. “So talking about just snapping the lights on and having people just resume a normal life just is totally unrealistic.”

Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal give an update on COVID-19 from the state Capitol.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Thursday, March 26, 2020