Lamont declares public health and civil preparedness emergency in response to coronavirus cases

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Gov. Ned Lamont has declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency amid coronavirus concerns.

The governor says the declarations provide him with "the authority to take specific, swift actions determined necessary to protect the safety and health of residents in the state, including the temporary suspension of certain state laws and regulations."

Lamont said there are a number of private providers who are ready to ramp up testing capacity. He also said the state lab hopes to triple the number of tests it can process to about 60 each day.

Officials confirm the second coronavirus patient in the state is a Bethlehem resident. She is a health care worker at Bridgeport Hospital and is in her 60s. They say she recently returned from a trip to Nevada. It is believed that is where she contracted the virus.

They say the patient had contact with students at Region 14 schools and as a result, all Region 14 schools are closed for the rest of the week.

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Lamont said he is working with Connecticut health insurers amid the state's coronavirus cases. He says carriers will cover tests at no cost to patients. Under certain circumstances, Lamont said insurance carriers will cover 90-day refills of prescription medications.

Officials said 56 people so far have been tested and two came back positive. There are 19 cases that still need to be tested.

The governor's office said the Connecticut Insurance Department is notifying travel insurance companies about the emergency declarations and will be monitoring their compliance. The declarations also trigger price gouging laws.

Lamont is also urging residents to remain vigilant to avoid scams related to coronavirus.

MORE: 2nd Connecticut resident tests positive for coronavirus 

PHOTOS: The impact of coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus Prevention: What you can do to protect yourself 
GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC
GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus

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