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Lamont announces 'tragic milestone' with death of less than 7-week-old baby from COVID-19

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that Connecticut marked a “tragic milestone” with the coronavirus-related death of a less than 7-week-old baby from Hartford County — “probably the youngest ever to die from the virus.”

The baby died after being brought to a hospital unresponsive, and was tested for the virus post-mortem. The results came back positive.

The death is a reminder, Lamont said, that “nobody is safe with this virus.”

He delivered the grim announcement at a news conference outside Southern Connecticut State University, where the Connecticut National Guard had just finished setting up a 200-bed mobile hospital that will treat patients recovering from COVID-19 — the disease caused by the virus — who no longer need acute care.

Since Tuesday, another 16 people died from the disease in Connecticut, including the infant — the same number of fatalities as in the previous 24 hours. The total number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the state is now 85. So far, only one of those deaths involves a New London County resident, a Norwich man in his 40s.

Another 1,000 people were tested for the virus in Connecticut since Tuesday, bringing the total number of those tested to 16,600. Lamont said he soon will announce another major facility that will be able to do 1,000 tests a day. The state has been in discussions with Abbott Laboratories, the makers of a coronavirus test that could provide results in less than 15 minutes, and has urged the company to make Connecticut a priority.

There are now 3,557 confirmed cases of the virus in Connecticut, and 766 people are hospitalized with the disease it causes, an increase of 158 patients since Tuesday.

State data showed that there were 29 confirmed cases in New London County as of 4 p.m. Wednesday. Though, of the total cases in the state, 185 are pending address verification, so it’s possible there could be other confirmed cases in New London County.

Electric Boat, deemed an essential business given its work in support of national security, on Wednesday announced two additional cases involving its employees, bringing its total to three. Of the two most recent cases, one of the individuals, who works in the construction support engineering department, has not been on company property since March 13 and was tested on March 25, while the other, who is a carpenter, has not been on company property since March 20 and was tested on March 23.

The governor reiterated at his briefing Wednesday that April would be a bad month for infections, a point also made by Dr. Steven Choi, chief quality officer for Yale New Haven Health and Yale Medical School, who said “our worst weeks are ahead of us."

“While we have enough capacity at most of our hospitals today, that may be very different in a couple weeks,” Choi said.

After discharging a COVID-19 patient described as “doing well,” Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London had four COVID-19 patients Wednesday, according to Dr. Kevin Torres, the hospital’s associate chief medical officer. Westerly Hospital had three patients with the disease.

Torres said L+M only has reached about 50% of capacity, due in part to canceling elective surgeries in preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Well over 3,000 health care workers with varying skills have come out of retirement to help with the state’s response to the virus, Lamont said Wednesday. At the same time, the state continues to identify facilities that could be converted for medical use.

Locally, two sites that have been identified for potential use are Mohegan Sun, which is closed until at least April 15, and Connecticut College.

Chuck Bunnell, chief of staff for the Mohegan Tribe, said earlier this week, after engineers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visited the casino, that they had not yet indicated exactly how the sprawling property might be adapted.

The governor's office is looking at Connecticut College’s athletic center as a potential facility.

"We are fully supportive of these efforts and provided the information they requested, and we are waiting to hear back about next steps. Additionally, we are currently working with the New London Fire Department to provide housing for firefighters who may have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Tiffany Thiele, a spokeswoman for Connecticut College.

Lamont also announced Wednesday the establishment of 4-CT, an independent, 501(c)3 organization that will provide grants to nonprofit agencies in the state. Already, the organization has raised $10 million from 20 donors.

Day Staff Writer Brian Hallenbeck contributed to this report.

j.bergman@theday.com







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