christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT – As of Tuesday afternoon, the death toll for Connecticut residents from COVID-19-related illnesses nearly doubled in 24 hours. A total of 69 have died and 3,128 have tested positive for the virus. The figures include 16 people who passed away since Monday and the addition of 17 more who had not previously been reported to the Department of Public Health. 

There are 608 patients hospitalized at the moment and Gov. Ned Lamont doesn’t believe the state has enough capacity now for what’s expected to happen in April.

“Connecticut is the 4th most COVID-infected state in the country per capita,” Lamont said Tuesday during his daily briefing.

The state has tested 15,600 people and the governor has asked everyone who doesn’t have an essential job to stay home, but the infection rate continues to climb.

The state of Connecticut was able to secure 50 ventilators from the national stockpile before it was depleted, Lamont said. However, it’s not going to be enough. The state had requested 1,500 and it currently has about 960. These machines help a person continue to breathe when they are unable to do it on their own, and they’ve been a necessity to care for those who are the most sick.

Asked how he was feeling and whether he planned to get a test, Lamont said he felt fine and has no plans at the moment to get tested. He said he’s spending about 80% of his time at home.

“I think I’ve been very careful,” Lamont said.

At the same time he’s “a little scared as well,” about what will happen in April.

“This month could go a lot of different ways,” Lamont said.

That’s because he can’t control the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the ventilators the state has been able to secure. He said he feels like “a general sending our troops into battle without the protective gear that they deserve.” 

Lamont said he’s working on that every day.

The other announcement Lamont made Tuesday was an agreement with banks and credit unions to offer mortgage relief to businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19.

Banking Commissioner Jorge Perez said someone will just have to attest they’ve been impacted to qualify. Perez said there’s a crisis and lenders are not going to ask for a lot of information from customers requesting help with paying their mortgage.

“The goal is to make it as simple as possible,” Perez said.

He asked people to hold off a day or two before calling their banks because the banks aren’t ready yet to accept the applications for the program.

christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie

He also said the state will forbid institutions from allowing the grace period to impact a customer’s credit score.

“Your credit score would not be impacted because you were given a 30-day, 60-day, 90-day grace period,” Perez said. “They will not report that as bad credit. They will not report that as a non-payment.”

Bruce Adams,  president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, said about two-thirds of the credit unions in Connecticut have jumped on board with the program.

Thomas Mongellow,  president and CEO of the Connecticut Bankers Association, said there are 52 banks that do business in the state of Connecticut and within a day of hearing the proposal, 25 of them on board with offering a 90-day grace period.

More than 50 credit unions and banks statewide are participating, including Webster Bank, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Peoples United Bank.

More information is expected to be posted soon to the Banking Department website.