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Indoor visits to nursing homes can resume, but with limitationsHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Visitors can return to nursing homes, but with limitations. The state Department of Public Health announced new visitation guidelines for long-term care facilities in response to a directive from the federal Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services. According to the new guidelines, indoor visitation is now permitted under certain conditions. Nursing homes must also make visitation plans. “Making the decision to limit in-person visits at nursing homes is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as governor, but amid the outbreak of this pandemic that is impacting the lives of so many people in our senior population, I knew it was the right thing to do,” said Gov. Ned Lamont. “Each facility is strongly urged to develop a visitation plan and strictly adhere to it to the greatest extent possible so that we can keep this virus from spreading and impacting our most vulnerable patients.” Acting Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford signed an order rescinding previously issued orders limiting visitation. The orders were issued to protect the health of nursing home residents in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read the complete order <a href="https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/wfsb.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/46/446bde30-0199-11eb-85f2-cb3f67489736/5f71f752968f0.pdf.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>. “With this new guidance from the federal government, indoor visitation is now allowed in nursing homes under specific conditions,” Gifford said. “I urge nursing homes to work closely with family members to arrange for the type of visitation that is most appropriate for each resident’s physical, mental and psychosocial wellbeing. There will be protocols in place to make sure the visitation is as safe as possible, including personal protective equipment to limit the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable population.” Indoor visitation hinges on certain conditions, including that there has been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing. Indoor visitation will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among staff or residents. In addition, facilities and visitors must adhere to the Core Principles of Infection Control: Screening for all who enter the facilityHand hygiene recommendationsPersonal protection equipment as applicableSocial distancing requirementsInstructional signage throughout the facilityCleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces in the facilityEffective cohorting of residents as applicableVisitors should be able to adhere to the core principles and staff should provide monitoring for those who may have difficulty adhering to core principlesFacilities should limit the number of visitors per patient at one time and limit the total number of visitors in the facility one at a time (based on the size of the building and physical space). Facilities should consider scheduling visits for a specified length of time to help ensure all patients are able to receive visitorsFacilities should limit movement in the facility. For example, visitors should not walk around different halls of the facility. Rather, they should go directly to the patient’s room or designated visitation area The new visitation requirements also expanded entry for health care workers and providers of other services whose access may have been previously restricted, such as social workers, clergy, hairdressers, and volunteers, as long as such individuals are not otherwise excluded from working due to an exposure to COVID-19 and comply with the Core Principles of Infection Control. The DPH also urged each chronic disease hospitals in the state not covered in the CMS guidance to develop a visitation plan for patients that includes the same core principles as long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All in-person visits should be planned with the chronic disease hospital in collaboration with the patient’s family or conservator with guidelines for infection control and safety as part of the chronic disease hospital’s visitation policy.
Group seeking to stop masks order in schools gets hearing todayHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A group challenging the Connecticut's mask order in schools is set to participate in a hearing on Monday. The group, which calls itself the Connecticut Freedom Alliance, filed a civil lawsuit on Aug. 25. It states the desire of parents to send their children to school without the requirement of face coverings, shields or any other apparatus on their bodies. The suit names the state Department of Education as the defendant. Read it in its entirety <a href="https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/wfsb.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/3f/83f06cf4-0196-11eb-9a0a-27f91935a45c/5f71f2c5ec6a5.pdf.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>. The group claims the defendant does not have legal authority for imposing the mask order. It called wearing masks and face shields all day dangerous and damaging to children's health, safety and emotional well-being. Over the summer, the state released a breakdown of its back-to-school plan. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/state-releases-complete-breakdown-of-back-to-school-plan/article_4c92c162-ba42-11ea-9d34-179dc4b61379.html" target="_blank">RELATED: State releases complete breakdown of back-to-school plan</a> Its COVID-19 safety measures included students wearing face coverings in classrooms and on buses while keeping them in smaller groups. Read through the complete plan <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/ct-reopening-schools-plan/pdf_63d4b998-ba42-11ea-874b-b3ec73b9b862.html" target="_blank">here</a>.
Hospital patient accused of sexually assaulting another patientNORWALK, CT (WFSB) - A patient at Norwalk Hospital is accused if sexually assaulting another patient. Norwalk police said they charged 44-year-old Rodney Daniels of Stamford with first-degree sexual assault and providing a false statement. According to police, they began investigating the assault on Aug. 29. Officers said they were made aware of a female patient who was sexually assaulted by a male patient. Their investigation revealed that Daniels was at the hospital for PCP usage. Around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 29, police sand Daniels entered the room of the victim, who had been given a sedative by hospital staff. Daniels committed the assault and was found lying next to the victim by staff, police said. They also said Daniels had an extensive criminal history and was on parole at the time. His bond was set at $1 million.
Safest states for schools to reopen: Where CT ranksHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut is among the safest states for schools to reopen, according to a study. The personal finance website WalletHub.com on Monday released its list of the Safest States for Schools to Reopen. On it, Connecticut ranked 9th. To identify which states had the safest conditions for reopening schools, WalletHub said it compared the 50 states across 15 key metrics. Its data set included such things as the number of child COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children, the average public-school class size, and the ratio of students to school nurses. Connecticut's metrics broke down as follows: 13th in child COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children4th in COVID-19 cases in the last seven days per 100,000 residents13th in average public-school class size6th in pupil-teacher ratio22nd in share of seniors living with school-age children2nd in share of children living in crowded housing6th in overall likelihood of COVID-19 infections3rd in student-to-school-nurse ratio Source: <a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/safest-states-for-schools-to-reopen/79230/">WalletHub</a> The top three safest states were Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania. The the bottom three states were Arkansas, South Carolina and Mississippi. Read the complete results of the study on WalletHub's website <a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/safest-states-for-schools-to-reopen/79230/" target="_blank">here</a>.
Amazon's Prime Day highlights the huge stakes ahead for retail(CNN) - Amazon has fired the starting gun for a hugely important shopping season, with retailers racing to make up as many lost sales as possible between now and the end of the year. What's happening: Amazon said Monday that it will host its annual Prime Day on October 13 and 14. The sales event, which normally takes place in mid-July, had been postponed because of the pandemic. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/amazon-prime-day-set-for-october-13-and-14/article_60b47982-37cb-5179-a1a7-8ea45d89fe9f.html" target="_blank">RELATED: Amazon Prime Day set for October 13 and 14</a> Prime Day is Amazon's version of Christmas in the summer, and sales routinely outpace Black Friday. Coming in just before the holiday shopping season, it could help propel the company to a blockbuster fourth quarter, while encouraging other retailers to offer October promotions, too. Investor insight: Amazon has thrived during the pandemic as consumers buy more goods online and limit visits to stores, my CNN Business colleague Nathaniel Meyersohn reports. Last quarter, across all its businesses, Amazon reported nearly $89 billion in sales, up 40% from the same period a year earlier. Shares have skyrocketed nearly 68% in 2020. Other retailers, which were forced to close stores for months due to government restrictions, aren't faring as well. That means they're even more likely to start advertising discounts soon. See here: Home Depot has said it will offer two months of Black Friday discounts starting in early November, and Best Buy is planning to start promotions earlier this year. How much spending Americans can cram in between October and December has big ramifications for the US economy, which is powered in large part by consumers. The bounce in US retail sales <a href="https://cnn.com/2020/09/16/business/retail-sales-data-august/index.html" target="_blank">slowed in August</a>, raising concerns that confidence is flagging heading into a crucial shopping period. There are some positive signs, however. Consumer spending around Halloween, a useful test ahead of the holidays, is expected to reach nearly $8.1 billion this year, according to a recent study by the National Retail Federation. That's down from $8.8 billion in 2019. But those shelling out money for decorations and costumes are expected to spend more per person. "Consumers' plans to spend a record figure individually on Halloween this year sets a positive tone going into the most important season for retail sales," Jessica Rabe of DataTrek Research said in a recent note to clients. And stores like Amazon and Home Depot may be right to assume people will start hunting for bargains earlier than usual. The NRF survey found that four in 10 people plan to begin shopping for Halloween in September this year — and some started even sooner. The TikTok download ban is on hold for now TikTok won't be kicked off of US app stores — at least not yet, my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung reports. The latest: A federal judge on Sunday partially granted TikTok's request for a temporary injunction against a push by the Trump administration to ban the app in the United States. The ruling blocked a US government ban on downloads of the app just hours before the policy was to take effect. The decision is a victory for TikTok, which challenged the ban as unconstitutional and a violation of due process. The Commerce Department said late Sunday that it would comply with the injunction but intends to "vigorously defend" its order. Get caught up: One week ago, President Donald Trump gave his blessing to a deal that would give Oracle and Walmart a combined 20% stake in a new company called TikTok Global. But the agreement still needs sign-off from Beijing, and Chinese media increasingly appears to oppose the arrangement. There's also still a lot of confusion about the new ownership structure. Big picture: Experts warn that Washington's playbook for dealing with foreign companies is starting to mimic Beijing's, amplifying the risk that the world's internet could fracture beyond repair. "I think there is some era of retaliation here, where, 'Hey, if you're going to do this to our companies — shut us out or force us to localize — then we're going to do it to you as well,'" Dipayan Ghosh, co-director of the Digital Platforms and Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, told my CNN Business colleagues Selina Wang and Jill Disis. K-Pop label behind BTS pulls off huge IPO Tech companies aren't the only ones minting money off massive stock offerings this fall. Take a look: Big Hit Entertainment, the K-Pop label behind hugely popular boy band BTS, just <a href="https://cnn.com/2020/09/28/investing/bts-big-hit-entertainment-ipo/index.html" target="_blank">scored South Korea's biggest stock market listing</a> in three years, my CNN Business colleagues Laura He and Jake Kwon report. The company said Monday that it will issue stock at 135,000 won ($115) apiece, raising $822 million and valuing the company at $4.1 billion. Shares will start trading on October 15. Fun fact: The IPO has made CEO Bang Si-Hyuk a billionaire, and all seven members of BTS are now multimillionaires. (Bang gave them each 68,385 shares in August.) Last year, BTS became only the third group in 50 years — after The Beatles and The Monkees — to have three number one albums on the Billboard 200 charts in less than 12 months, and the band's success has helped Big Hit carve out a lucrative empire. But large business risks lie ahead. The company derived 97% of its revenue last year from BTS alone, and the pandemic continues to force the cancellation of concerts and other live events. That raises the question: Is the rush to snap up Big Hit shares just another example that the IPO frenzy is running too hot? Up next UK and EU officials meet to kick off a crucial week for Brexit. The clock is ticking for the United Kingdom to hash out a new trade agreement with the European Union and prevent a shock to trade next year. Coming tomorrow: The first debate in the US presidential race is likely to fan discussions about market volatility heading into the November election.
New York City's spike in cases shows coronavirus is still 'a force to be reckoned with,' governor says(CNN) - As cases spike in parts of New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that Covid-19 "remains a force to be reckoned with throughout the country." "I urge New Yorkers to keep wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands, and local governments must continue to enforce state public health guidance," Cuomo said in a statement. "By staying vigilant and smart, we can beat COVID together." <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/09/26/health/us-coronavirus-saturday/index.html" target="_blank">Experts have cautioned the US could see an explosion</a> of coronavirus cases in the fall and winter as people exercise less caution and spend more time indoors. Already the US has reported <a href="https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/" target="_blank">more than 7.1 million cases</a> and 204,756 deaths since the pandemic began, and <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/09/27/health/us-coronavirus-sunday/index.html" target="_blank">21 states are reporting more new cases</a> in the last seven days compared with the week before, according to a CNN analysis of data from <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html" target="_blank">Johns Hopkins University.</a> Once the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, New York had boasted a test positivity rate -- the percentage of tests being performed that come back positive for the virus -- of less than 1% for more than a month. That rate broke 1% on Saturday as Cuomo reminded New Yorkers "we cannot drop our guard." Though the rate of positive tests is still low relative to other states, neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn are seeing cases "continue to grow at an alarming rate," according to a news release from the city's Department of Health. But New York is still among the states with the lowest positivity rate in the US. The World Health Organization advised that the rates of positivity in testing should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days before businesses reopen. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia meet that recommendation, with Vermont holding the lowest rate at 0.53% positive. Twenty-eight states and Puerto Rico have positivity rates higher than 5%. The territory has a 100% positivity rate. Among US states, the rate is highest, 24.64%, in South Dakota, <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity" target="_blank">according to Johns Hopkins University.</a> Public schools in New York City are returning to the classroom for the first time this week, but officials could decide to close schools, limit gatherings and issue fines for not wearing masks. "For the first time in the city's recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by Monday evening," the Department of Health said last week. <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page" target="_blank">New York City has reported</a> 237,971 of the state's 455,626 cases. But with a seven-day average of 224 new daily cases last week, the city is still nowhere near its April peak, when more than 5,000 new cases were reported every day. States reach new highs New York isn't the only state to report case counts trending in the wrong direction. Wisconsin reported its highest single-day case increase on Saturday with 2,817 new cases reported, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health. The previous record was 2,533 on September 18, according to the state health department's website. Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order mandating face coverings in an effort to keep infections down. In a news release, his office attributed rising cases primarily to infections among 18- to 24-year-olds and said the state was "facing a new and dangerous phase" of the pandemic. "We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together," Evers said. Meanwhile, cases in Florida have exceeded 700,000, though it is one of 10 states reporting fewer new cases this week compared to last. It is joined by Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. The number of new cases reported is holding steady in 19 states. Twenty-one are seeing more new cases reported than last week: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Authorities break up large gatherings To avoid another surge, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed masking, distancing and avoiding crowds. But authorities have had to intervene as some continue to gather in large groups. On Friday evening, New York City Sheriff's Office deputies broke up a wedding of about 300 people in Queens, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office told CNN. Both the owner and manager of the venue were issued appearance tickets for multiple misdemeanor offenses. Weddings and other large social gatherings have been the origin of several outbreaks in coronavirus cases in recent months, and authorities have turned their attention to deterring these events and enforcing measures against them. A Maryland man was sentenced to a year imprisonment Friday after holding two large parties in late March against the state's social distancing rules, which had banned gatherings of more than 10 people, according to the office of Gov. Larry Hogan. The man became argumentative after he was told to disband his first party of about 50 people, the state's attorney's office said. And five days later, he held a second party of more than 50 people which he refused to end, saying they had a right to congregate and directing his guests to stay, according to a news release. CNN's Laura Ly, Sheena Jones, Anna Sturla, Dakin Andone, and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.
Another judge delivers blow to USPS, says changes put election mail 'at risk'(CNN) - Another judge has put a court order in place stopping the US Postal Service from making policy changes that would slow down election mail. "Plaintiffs have also demonstrated that the combination of the reduction of late trips, extra trips and reduced sorting capacity puts the timely delivery of election mail at risk," Judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court wrote on Sunday, in a case brought by a coalition of state governments including New York. It's the third case in a little over a week where the court has blunted the <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/21/politics/usps-funding-controversy-explained/index.html" target="_blank">USPS's changes</a> as the agency is under extra scrutiny now that more Americans are set to vote by mail in November's general election because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last Thursday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in many cases what the judges decided were changes he already planned to put in place. Sullivan ruled that while he didn't want to micromanage USPS, this ruling was in the public's interest, particularly during a pandemic. "It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law," Sullivan wrote. The court order said what the USPS was doing had wide effects. "While it is clear that Congress did not intend for the courts to micromanage the operations of the USPS, requiring the USPS to comply with the statutory requirement that it obtain an advisory opinion from the PRC and provide for notice and comment prior to implementing 'a change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis' is not micro-managing; it is requiring the USPS to act within its statutory authority." A week ago, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/21/politics/judge-usps-ruling-sdny/index.html" target="_blank">a federal judge ruled</a> that the Postal Service must prioritize election mail and reverse some key policy changes imposed by DeJoy, saying that "managerial failures" at the agency undermined the public's faith in mail-in voting. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/17/politics/usps-policy-changes-injunction/index.html" target="_blank">A judge in Washington state ordered</a> many similar changes on the week before and blasted the Trump administration for what he called a "politically motivated attack" on USPS.
Two rounds of rain in the forecast this weekHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - There is actual rain in the forecast for later this week. Meteorologist Scot Haney said the state just has to get through a couple of days of warmth and high humidity. "The dry pattern we’ve endured for a long time will finally break down, and the result could be a significant rainfall," Haney said. "That’s great news since there hasn’t been enough rain to measure in 18 days, and the longer-term drought is getting worse." There is a chance for an isolated shower on Monday, but most of the day should feature more clouds than sun. Temperatures will be in the upper 70s and 80s. "As we head into the middle of the week, we will finally get some much-needed rain as our drought situation continues to worsen," Haney said. "There is not only one, but actually two rounds on the way." The first comes Tuesday night into early Wednesday. The second is expected to arrive Wednesday night into early Thursday. "Temperatures will also trend cooler in the wake of a cold front, going from above average to near normal," Haney said. "By Friday, we’re forecasting highs in the 60s." There may also be some showers to close out the week on Friday. The upcoming weekend looks seasonably cool with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Any rain that arrives this week will help the drought situation. Haney said conditions ranged from abnormally dry in southwestern Connecticut to severe or extreme drought conditions in portions of northern and eastern Connecticut. Read the complete technical discussion <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/technical_discussion/" target="_blank">here</a>. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, head <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/site/station_info/apps" target="_blank">here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Crews respond to apartment fire in SheltonSHELTON, CT (WFSB) - Firefighters responded to a fire at an apartment in Shelton overnight. Crews were called to 475 Howe Ave. early Monday morning. The apartment is above a commercial business. There's no word on a cause or if anyone was hurt. Refresh this page and watch Eyewitness News for updates.
Survey suggests good portion of parents plan to skip children's flu vaccine this year(WFSB) - Health experts continue to emphasize the importance of getting the flu vaccine this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a new survey showed that many parents are planning to skip flu shots for their children. Doctors said it's critical to get vaccinated this year because the flu and the coronavirus have similar symptoms and a surge in flu cases could overwhelm the health system. The national poll from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital found one in three parents, 32 percent, said their child is unlikely to get the vaccine and only one-third, 34 percent, believed it's more important this year. The most common concerns included side effects and that the vaccine was not effective. The other complaint pediatric physicians heard was that parents don’t want to take their children to a provider’s officer because of potential exposure to COVID-19. “One of the benefits of flu vaccine is that it lessens the severity,” explained Sarah Clark, co-director, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital national poll on children’s health. “In cases where the individual does, in fact, get influenza, vaccinated people are much less likely to have serious complications and hospitalizations.” Thousands of children are hospitalized every year because of the flu. Some die. Children under 5 years old are at high risk for serious complications. More information on the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital report can be found on its website <a href="https://mottpoll.org/reports/flu-vaccine-children-time-covid" target="_blank">here</a>.