Lamont renews COVID orders

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By Paul Hughes, Republican-American

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont moved Monday to renew a small number of his emergency orders as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations picked up over the weekend.

Lamont signed a new executive order Monday that extended two of his previous coronavirus-related directives and sections of six others with some modifications through Sept. 30. His new order also renewed unexpired municipal and state agency orders.

One of the reauthorized orders requires anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear masks or cloth face coverings in indoor places where 6 feet of social distancing is not possible. Nearly 60% of the state’s vaccine-eligible population is fully vaccinated.

The governor’s action triggered a temporary oversight provision that was added to the state’s public health and civil preparedness emergency statutes that gives a bipartisan, select committee of eight top General Assembly leaders 36 hours to reject new emergency orders.

The new emergency order was announced in the Monday update on state’s coronavirus response efforts.

State health officials reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 between Friday and Sunday out of 26,798 test results for a positive test rate of slightly more than 1.5%. There have been 351,084 cases reported since March 2020.

There were 50 patients hospitalized Monday with confirmed cases of COVID-19. This was the highest number since mid-June. An additional six patients were hospitalized over the weekend. There have been more than 36,500 hospitalizations.

Coronavirus-related deaths are now being reported on a weekly basis every Thursday. There were 8,282 deaths attributed to COVID-19 or complications from the disease through last week.

Lamont issued his updated executive order five days after the House and Senate approved his request to continue the public health and civil preparedness emergencies from July 20 to Sept. 30

The public health and civil preparedness emergency statutes grant a governor the authority to set rules and modify or suspend state laws, regulations and requirements through executive order.

Lamont on Monday continued an emergency order that authorizes the state Office of Early Child and the state Department of Education to set operational and safety rules for child care settings and schools, including requiring the wearing of masks or other face coverings.

The renewed order on mask wearing also reauthorizes the state Department of Public Health to establish a list of facilities, venues and locations were masks or face coverings must be worn. It also allows businesses, nonprofit organizations, property owners, and state and local government agencies to continue to require people wear masks on their property.

He also renewed a directive for providing housing for homeless and other people at risk of exposure, and another one concerning eviction proceedings, including a requirement that landlords apply for the UniteCT rental assistance program before delivering an eviction notice to tenants for overdue rent.

Other extended orders concern the distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds to hospitals and health care providers, out-of-network coverage for COVID-19 immunization, and the use of commuter parking lots for COVID-19 testing and vaccination

Lamont also maintained a waiver of state contracting requirements for purchasing essential goods and services.