Connecticut Department of Public Health can now test for coronavirus

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Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday the state is taking a major step in in staying ahead of a possible coronavirus outbreak in Connecticut.

Lamont outlined the new procedure during a meeting with state and federal officials at Milford Hospital.

Lamont said the federal government has given the state the OK to test possible patients for the coronavirus at the Department of Public Health's lab in Rocky Hill.

"Nobody's been detected yet here in Connecticut. Barely anything in New England, but we want to be ready," Lamont stressed.

Lamont said the approval helps the state in its preparation for a possible threat of coronavirus. He added the state having the ability to test patients suspected of being infected expedites a process which normally takes days to complete.

"This is one more way that we'll be able to test people to give them confidence that they're okay," Lamont said.

Without the approval, tissue samples would have had to be sent to Centers for Disease Control testing sites in Atlanta for further evaluation.

Health officials said being able to run tests in the state lab at Rocky Hill means results will come in in as little as 24 hours.

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Dr. Michael Ivy said the disease should not be taken lightly, but a significant majority of people infected will only feel mild symptoms.

"We would be unwise not to prepare. We are preparing, we are investing in that, we're working with all our partners," Ivy said.

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Lamont said he is hoping that the approval is the beginning of increased cooperation with the federal government.

"We need more testing devices available to each and every one of our healthcare providers who are here, so they can send that information up. We're going to need support in terms of protective gear and masks,” Lamont said. “We have a month’s supply. We've planned for this, we're thinking about this, but depending on what the scale of this problem could become, we want to be ready for that going forward."

After the roundtable discussion, Lamont said he is hoping the effort will be federally funded so patients are not the ones paying for the tests.



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