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Sound Bites: Connecticut ends COVID-19 public health emergency

Hannah Thompson mixes probes and primers that she adds to the sample to help identify COVID in the water. The goal is to run these through a machine that will amplify any COVID in the liquid.
Meredith Rizzo
/
NPR
Hannah Thompson mixes probes and primers that she adds to the sample to help identify COVID in the water.

Good morning! Connecticut’s COVID-19 public health emergency will end Thursday.

In March 2020, the state declared its emergency as the virus spread rapidly worldwide. 

All remaining state COVID test sites will close on June 30. Homebound and mobile COVID-19  vaccination programs will also end by July. Costs of vaccines, boosters and tests will transition to traditional health care coverage through individual insurance providers. Data reporting on COVID-19 will transition to the seasonal respiratory surveillance reporting program, the same as influenza. 

Governor Ned Lamont said the announcement was in response to the decline in COVID-19 cases, and President Biden’s termination of the federal emergency this week.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

A federal task force could investigate the origins of COVID-19. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the bill that would create a 9/11 commission-style task force that will research how the country responded to the pandemic, the availability of medical supplies, public health messaging and the government’s role in the development and distribution of vaccines.

Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state emergency due to an overwhelming number of migrants entering New York. She said it is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. With Title 42 expiring, which allowed the government to expel people traveling from a country where a communicable disease was present, Hochul ordered asylum seekers be provided with over $1 billion of shelter costs, healthcare and housing relocation assistance. Nearly 500 members of the National Guard are deployed to provide operational support as 5,000 migrants are expected to arrive weekly.

A former Stamford Democratic City Committee chairman is appealing his conviction of voter fraud in 2022. John Mallozzi’s lawyer claimed the state Superior Court’s decision should be revered due to a witness's testimony that was determined to be unreliable. The case’s investigation found that it was only probable that Mallozzi forged absentee ballot application signatures.

Southern Connecticut State University will soon open the state’s first carbon-free building. This net zero energy building was made possible due to a geothermal well and solar panels powering 90% of the School of Business's electricity needs, including air conditioning. Faculty will begin moving into this $52.4 million building later this month and will have an official opening ceremony in September.

New York joined 10 state attorneys general in callingfor the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a decision on gas stoves. A December 2022 study found that nearly 13% of childhood asthma cases nationwide are attributed to gas stove use. New York Attorney General Letitia James recommended the commission develop uniform performance standards for gas stoves and increase consumer awareness of the health hazards associated with gas stoves.

New Haven emergency service employees may soon receive pay raises. The city’s Board of Alders Finance Committee voted unanimously on Monday to recommend the approval of a new five-year contract between the city and the 400 member Local 884 union. This would be the first new contract for emergency service employees in three years. If approved, the contract would extend from July 2020 to June 2025 and increase annual pay by 3%.

Wesleyan University will cover costs for abortions and provide emergency contraceptives starting this fall. This was the result of a Wesleyan Democratic Socialists petition signed by nearly 800 people, urging the university to support students who are unable to afford or receive transportation for abortion procedures.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.