Quick Links to the COVID Content You Need
- Being Well Informed for Your Well Being
- Cloth Face Coverings and Masks
- Links for Learning
- NDDH Services
- Reopening Responsibly
- Slow the Spread
- Testing Sites and Information
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a sudden acute respiratory illness that is spreading rapidly from person-to-person. A new coronavirus caused this disease and created a pandemic - a global outbreak of disease for which there is little to no immunity.
COVID-19 can cause mild to severe illness; most severe illness occurs in older adults. It has interrupted our way of life and created historic disruption. There are many global, federal, state, and local partners responding to this situation.
On March 10, 2020, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies, effective through September 9, 2020. The declaration of these emergencies allows additional resources and supplies to be deployed to the state of Connecticut – resources that are necessary to identify infection and slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to evolve rapidly and as a result, information and guidance change frequently.
An Open Door Policy...Even When the Doors Are Closed
NDDH Office Closed to Public Entry
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that is impacting communities across the world and in northeast CT, our office is closed to public entry...but we are still working hard behind the scenes (and behind closed doors) for you.
Services are still available Monday – Thursday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm by the following methods:
Online (24/7): www.nddh.org
USPS Mail: 69 South Main Street,Unit 4, Brooklyn, CT 06234
Our office will not process or approve any Temporary Permit Applications for the foreseeable future. We will keep applications on file for review when the situation changes.
NDDH does not provide testing or medical services for COVID-19.
To date, NDDH has been maintaining situational awareness through weekly teleconferences with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH). We are conducting countless activities related to preparedness and communicating regularly with town leaders, community partners, and the public.
While we cannot predict the impact of COVID-19 with great certainty, we can assure you that there are many trusted and experienced community partners in our public health system working together to protect our communities.
We are grateful for these partnerships.
We recognize that economic health is important to physical, mental, financial, and social health. The health of our community depends on the responsible efforts of state and local agencies, municipal officials, employers, employees, customers and the general public alike. Let's all work together to get this right.
While the State and local communities slowly phase in reopening strategies, it is important to note that residents in high-risk groups with underlying health conditions and over the age of 65 should continue to stay safe and stay home.
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is coordinating business reopenings in CT. You can learn more here.
DECD requires businesses to be certified before reopening through this website. Note, certification is required, and badging is optional. NDDH encourages all businesses to participate in the badging process. The badges are intended to foster customer confidence.
Business owners are responsible for meeting the DECD requirements for re-opening, including procurement of their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). You may find helpful information regarding personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies here.
Here are the important details related to establishments that are subject to routine permitting by NDDH:
- Businesses that have a valid permit from NDDH do not require an inspection from NDDH in order to reopen. (Businesses must obtain a new permit when there is a change in ownership, address or menu. Preoperational inspections are required for new permits. Call NDDH at 860-774-7350 if you have questions.)
- Foodservice operations may apply to their town for approval to operate outdoors; no approval or additional inspections are required by NDDH for town approved outdoor operations. Contact your town hall for information.
- Salon owners should review guidance with their independent contractors to assure that they are in compliance with reopening requirements.
- NDDH will continue to enforce the Public Health Code and will conduct regular inspections for permitted establishments on a routine basis.
Thank you for your efforts to reopen safely!
State of Connecticut Criteria for Phase One Reopening
Additional Connecticut Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reopening Decision Trees
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a series of decision trees to assist business owners, community leaders, and administrators in making (re)opening decisions. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.
Additional CDC Resources
Reopening Guidance for Campgrounds
Click the links below for the latest information on what is required for family campgrounds to open for the season during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDDH office is closed to public entry, but we are still processing campground applications we have received to date. If you have not yet filed your application, you may download the form, view fees, and pay online at: https://www.nddh.org/formspermits/
Links for Learning
(Admit it...we've been telling you this for years...)
Call 2-1-1 for general questions about COVID-19. Available 24 hours a day; multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access for those with a hearing impairment. Only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.
Being Well-Informed Leads to Well-Being
Watch this excellent CDC video to understand how the virus spreads:
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the information about COVID-19. Here is an exceptional post by Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. In his own words, Dr. Bromage "enjoys being able to translate scientific data and findings into prose that non-scientist lay people can more readily understand as we navigate through this pandemic." It's well worth the 12-minute read, as evidenced by nearly 16 million views in less than a week.
Symptoms of COVID-19 - Discover the CDC's Self-Checker Tool - a guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Is it a cold, the flu, or COVID-19? Here's a handy guide from Yale New Haven Health:
Data collected from the How We Feel app is used to better understand if COVID-19 illness is emerging in a community and helps to predict emerging hot-spots. How We Feel lets you anonymously self-report your age, sex, ZIP code, and any health symptoms you experience in just seconds. Download the app and join thousands of CT users who are helping to provide invaluable information in identifying, understanding, and ultimately controlling the spread of coronavirus in Connecticut.
Everything you do is ESSENTIAL to stop COVID-19. Those at work...those at home...THANK YOU.
These are extraordinarily difficult times for everyone...but everything we are doing is working. Those staying home are slowing the spread. Those who must report to work keep essential services and systems functioning. Employers are taking unparalleled steps to keep employees safe.
Community health care partner Generations Family Health Care Center is maintaining a list of all COVID-19 testing sites in Connecticut, with criteria for testing. Click here for the list in English and Spanish.
Only individuals who present with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, a fever greater than or equal to 100.0°, and a cough, or shortness of breath, will be tested at this time.
If an individual has a fever (greater than or equal to 100.0°) and a cough, or shortness of breath, please call your primary care provider, who will evaluate the need for testing and advise on home care if testing is not indicated. You will need an order from your primary care physician to be tested for COVID-19. Please do not go to any medical facility unannounced for the safety of all patients and medical professionals.
Day Kimball Medical Group Drive-up Collection Site - Killingly Intermediate School, 1599 Upper Maple Street, Dayville, CT. The collection site will be open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A doctor's order and appointment are required.
If you are displaying symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19 and are unable to get into contact with your primary care physician, please call one of the following hotlines:
• Yale New Haven Health: (833) 484-1200
• Hartford Healthcare Hotline: (860) 972-8100
• Bristol Hospital Coronavirus Info Line: (860) 261-6855
• Stamford Health: (203) 276-4111
Donate Personal Protective Equipment
Community partner Day Kimball Healthcare is accepting donations of personal protective equipment, which is urgently needed to protect healthcare personnel and first responders. Learn more about what is needed and how you can help.
We All Know Superheroes Wear Masks.
Save the PPE for Healthcare and First Responders.
Join the Ranks with a Cloth Face Covering.
The CDC urges Americans to wear cloth face coverings and reserve surgical masks, N95 respirators and other types of personal protective equipment for health care, first responders, and other front line workers.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams shows you how to make a homemade cloth face covering in 45 seconds. It's that easy:
Vox Video - What Face Masks Actually Do Against Coronavirus
Despite the CDC's recommendation, more surgical masks are becoming available and are being made available to essential employees and the general public. If you absolutely do not have a cloth face covering and only have a surgical mask for use, it is important to use it properly. Masks and cloth face coverings alone cannot protect you from COVID-19. They must be used together with social distancing (6 foot rule) and frequent hand hygiene. Surgical masks were intended for one-time use, but due to shortages, extended use and re-use is recommended. Surgical masks should be discarded if soiled, damaged, or become hard to breathe through. This will vary per individual and their environment.
Video – A Sarasota Memorial Hospital RN shows proper putting on (donning), taking off (doffing), and storing of a surgical mask:
Flattening the Curve - Now that We've Flattened It, Let's Stay Ahead of It.
We get ahead of COVID-19 by "flattening the curve." This means we implement measures to prevent everyone from getting sick at the same time. In this way, we give our healthcare systems and providers a fighting chance to keep up with the patient load, which means fewer people who need treatment will be turned away.
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent the disease or medicine to treat it. Testing is slowly expanding despite continued shortages of testing swabs, re-agents, and personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel. We've done a great job to flatten the curve in northeast CT with community mitigation strategies...things like washing your hands, staying home when you are sick, and social distancing. Social distancing measures help to keep people at a distance from each other. Staying at least six feet apart can reduce your chance of getting a respiratory illness like COVID-19.
All across the planet and right here in northeast CT, communities continue to participate in forms of social distancing:
- Businesses and schools have closed
- Many people are working from home
- Meetings and events have been cancelled
- In some states, there are curfews or orders to "shelter-in-place."
The purple line shows us what it looks like when social distancing measures start to work:
Note how the purple curve that represents Connecticut's eastern counties "flattened out," with a projected "peak" in mid-to-late May. This means that our local healthcare systems had some extra time to prepare...and as hospitalization and case rates began to decline in western counties, there were more resources to deploy to eastern CT, if needed. We hope that less people will fall ill in our district because there is evidence that social distancing is working...but YOU are the most important factor in what happens here. Stay the course.
What You Can Do to Slow the Spread
Practice Everyday Preventive Actions Now
Practice and remind others of the importance of using everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. Yes, these are simple strategies and they work:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue in a lined trash container.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, a list of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved products is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Products. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person...between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
Get an annual flu shot…and future vaccines that are developed to fight new communicable illnesses. The flu shot will not provide protection from COVID-19, but it will protect against the flu, which can be serious. If we avoid severe flu cases, those people won't have to go to the hospital and take up services and beds that will be needed to treat those with COVID-19. Vaccines prevent illness...and save lives.
A Whole Different Kind of March Madness
Decisions Regarding Continued Cancellation or Postponement of Events and Activities
COVID-19 continues to circulate in northeast Connecticut. Many social distancing measures such as school closures and cancellation of public events have been implemented. CT residents are following Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order to Stay Safe, Stay Home. While these measures are very disruptive to society they are absolutely necessary to slow the spread of the disease.
Decision-makers should continue to take common sense steps regarding event cancellation or postponement and make decisions on a case-by-case basis based on their specific situation, event space, target audience, and the ability of community partners, staff, volunteers, and attendees to participate or attend.
Help Us to Help Those Who Need it Most
Key Messages to Keep in Perspective
- Governor Ned Lamont signed an Executive Order on May 7 to significantly increase testing. This includes focusing on testing everyone who has any symptoms and increasing screening of asymptomatic people in nursing homes, correctional facilities, health care facilities, and disadvantaged communities.
- People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of the virus (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were in contact with a positive case of COVID-19 or have traveled to locations with community transmission.
- Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19.
- People who are severely ill or think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider for instructions. These people SHOULD NOT go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
- People sick with mild symptoms of respiratory illness should stay home to take care of themselves and stay away from others. This includes distancing themselves from people in their household and vehicles.
- The ability to access emergency care has changed. Learn more with Day Kimball Healthcare’s Drs. John Graham, Marc Cerrone and Infection Preventionist Sarah Healy on the WINY Morning Show.
- Hospitals, clinics, health centers, medical groups, and other healthcare systems are enhancing their efforts to screen and care for people. This will include screening patients outside before you enter the building. Follow instructions on all posted signage. NDDH Director of Health Sue Starkey, Generations Family Health Center Chief Operating Officer Missy Meyers, and Day Kimball Healthcare Interim President Joseph Adiletta detail some of these changes and share information on the WINY Radio Morning Show with Gary O.
- Connecticut nursing homes have been directed by the CT DPH to impose restrictions on all visitors except when a current health state such as end-of-life care is in question.
We're All in This Together
These are unprecedented times. Rely on us for information. Turn to us for facts.
Trust that a caring community like ours is the best defense for whatever comes our way.
We are still connected despite some temporary, yet necessary distance between us.
Take this time to rediscover your family, yourself and reflect on all that really matters.
Challenge reveals character...and COVID-19 is about to see our resilience and resolve.
Keep your spirits up, keep spreading kindness, keep your sense of humor, keep smiling...
and just keep washing your hands.