Connecticut state employees told not to travel out of state because of coronavirus

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut officials continued to take steps Monday to try and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the state, including a freeze on state employees traveling out of state for official business. Over the weekend, Connecticut reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Some of the steps being taken include:

STATE EMPLOYEES

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont issued an email on Monday morning to all state employees in Connecticut’s executive branch agencies, informing them of the immediate freeze on state employee out-of-state travel. Any exceptions will have to be approved by agency heads and Lamont’s chief operating officers.

Lamont also called on state employees working with out-of-state colleagues or colleagues to hold teleconferences rather than meet in person.

“Let’s limit what our exposure is,” Lamont said.

Lamont suggested older state employees and those with health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung diseases and weakened immune systems to work from home, if possible. He also wants state employees to avoid holding large gatherings. In an email sent to state workers on Monday money, Lamont said he has asked agency heads to provide a list of any state of Connecticut-organized large meetings, conferences or gatherings that are anticipated to have more than 100 people scheduled between now and April 30.

“Our administration will evaluate whether these events should move to teleconference or be postponed,” the email said, also suggesting state employees “get in the habit” of bringing home their laptops each night “to ensure maximum flexibility.”

STATE BUILDINGS

The state of Connecticut has informed private property management firms and cleaning contractors “to increase the use of disinfectants when cleaning state office buildings and to increase the frequency of disinfectant cleaning, especially focusing on common touch points.” The same request has been made to those cleaning state college and university buildings.

SPRING BREAK WARNING

The president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the state’s largest higher education system, sent an email Monday to students, faculty and staff strongly discouraging them from taking personal travel outside of Connecticut, particularly during spring break.

“If you do decide to travel, you may be required to not return to campus and directed to self-quarantine for 14 days,” the email read.

The email said the request not apply to faculty, staff and students who commute to campus for work or classes.

CSCU President Mark Ojakian said there is also an immediate freeze on institutionally sponsored travel outside of Connecticut until further notice, as well as a directive to postpone, cancel or adjust all campus events, other than classes, that are expected to have more 100 or more participants through at least April 30.

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