HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Governor Ned Lamont has declared a public health emergency after two residents test positive for coronavirus.
Lamont and healthcare officials made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
The public health emergency allows Lamont to order travel bans and the closing of schools, as well as private businesses.
It also gives the governor and the attorney general the power to crack down on scammers and those who are charging extremely high prices for things like face masks and hand sanitizer.
"One thing that has become crystal clear to me why it's important we have this emergency declaration, it gives us the opportunity to get more testing capacity and it's faster for all the people in the State of Connecticut," Lamont said.
The state has received a second test kit, saying one kit can test up to 600 patients.
As of Tuesday, 56 patients had been tested so far. Two have tested positive, but there were 19 cases still in the queue to be tested Tuesday.
Officials said it is expected that the state will see more positive tests of COVID-19 due to more testing.
They also said they expected the mortality rate of the virus to drop to that of the flu, which is less than 1 percent.
The second patient who tested positive for COVID-19 is a female in her 60s who is a healthcare worker at Bridgeport Hospital. She is a Bethlehem resident.
During the press conference, Lamont said the woman who who tested positive for COVID-19 came in contact with a student in the area of Region 14, which covers the Woodbury and Bethlehem area.
As a precaution, schools and a daycare facility covered under Region 14 are closed from March 11 through March 15 to allow the buildings to be cleaned and disinfected.
There will be no activities taking place in any of the school facilities.
The student is self-monitoring at home for 14 days.
Officials said the patient with the second confirmed case is believed to have contracted COVID-19 in Nevada and showed signs when she got home.
State officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 over the weekend, identifying them as a patient from Wilton.
Channel 3 learned that the patient is between the ages of 40 and 50. The infection is believed to have happened during a trip to California.
The patient is currently at Danbury Hospital, while people that he or she were in contact with are being quarantined.
The first works at both Danbury and Norwalk hospitals.
Also in quarantine are seven Trinity College students.
They're self-quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19 off campus and out of the area.
The college said the students did not show any symptoms.
Lawmakers continue to push for more testing to be done.
At Bristol Health on Monday, officials said they plan to have four trailers by next week to help start evaluating people. Priorities are those who are already hospitalized and are showing symptoms. Also, those who may have come in contact with someone who traveled to high risk areas will be tested.
Now, 10 hospitals in the state will put trailers outside to do testing for COVID-19.
Gov. Lamont also announced a travel ban for all state employees.
Also announced this week was that all public hearings set for Thursday and Friday are postponed. All non-legislative events have also been postponed.
State lawmakers also said the state capitol, Legislative Office Building in Hartford, and the Old Statehouse will be closed Thursday and Friday to be cleaned.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased the criteria for patients to be tested, however according to the state Department of Public Health, in order for someone to be tested in Connecticut they need to be hospitalized with symptoms, and have a doctor rule out the flu or pneumonia.
Doctors are advising anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to contact their medical provider immediately.
The symptoms the flu and coronavirus share are fever, cough, and muscle aches.
While flu testing results are usually available in a hospital or clinic and can take less than hour or two, results for the coronavirus take a little longer, as they are sent to the lab.
Doctors also said that if someone is sick, stay 6 feet away from them.
Cough into a tissue and throw it in the trash right away.
Also, make sure to always wash your hands.
Symptoms of coronavirus can include:
- Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
- Shortness of breath
People who have recently traveled to an impacted location and is feeling sick should:
- Call ahead before visiting a doctor’s office or emergency room
- Tell the doctor about recent travel and the symptoms being experienced
- Avoid contact with others, and so not travel while sick
Everyone – regardless of whether they have recently traveled – should continue following some basic steps to protect themselves from coronavirus:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer
- Avoid shaking hands as a greeting
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
For more information on the CDC's latest guidelines, click here.
Connecticut launched a coronavirus infoline as part of a partnership with the United Way.
Anyone with questions can call 211 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211.