Connecticut hospitals urged to set up virus testing sites

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut health authorities are asking hospitals to set up alternative sites to test for the new coronavirus away from emergency rooms to help prevent spread of the disease, officials said Friday.

Officials with the Department of Public Health gave state lawmakers an update on efforts to contain and respond to the virus.

Public Health Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell said the state health lab has tested 24 people as of Friday, with all tests coming back negative. Connecticut still has no confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Coleman-Mitchell also said 154 people in the state are self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“Our overall public health risk for Connecticut residents still remains low for COVID-19,” she said. “Our strategy is to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.”

Health officials also are asking acute care hospitals to have testing kits on site, said Dr. Matthew Cartter, the state epidemiologist.

Cartter said the outbreaks in the U.S. will likely look like a “really bad flu season” that will last up to four months.

Officials also say they’re putting coronavirus information on the state’s 2-1-1 call system Friday.

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