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Information, Health and Food Help During COVID-19 Outbreak in Connecticut

Woman receiving grocery delivery.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut is providing information and resources to help older residents and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and help prevent it from spreading to others.

On March 22, Governor Ned Lamont directed all state residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home” except for essential needs like food, medicine, healthcare and getting to jobs that are considered critical. He has also banned all social gatherings of more than five people.

“I know this pandemic has brought disruption to all of our lives,” Lamont said in issuing the order. “But we need to pull together as a community and practice social distancing in order to reduce the spread of this virus and protect the wellbeing of our neighbors and our loved ones.”

Connecticut had 3,824 confirmed cases and 112 deaths from coronavirus as of April 2. Visit the state’s coronavirus page daily for updated numbers and the latest coronavirus news.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, call your health care provider or local public health department to figure out if you could — and should — get tested. Signs of the virus are a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath and more. (Read more about coronavirus and how to stay safe.)

For help with basic needs like food, utilities, healthcare and more, call your local 211 or browse this coronavirus resource guide. For questions or concerns about residents of nursing homes, long term care facilities and assisted living, the State’s Long Term Care Ombudsman offers online and telephonic resources and information.

Here is some more helpful information for state residents.

Food assistance

If financial difficulty is a barrier to food, find your nearest food pantry or visit this Department of Children and Families page for other food assistance programs.

Meals on Wheels delivers in-home meals to homebound people ages 60 and older. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to learn more.

Click here for information on how to apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

Grocery stores

On April 1, the governor set new rules for grocery stores, including limits on the number of people allowed inside at one time. Many stores have established special shopping hours for older residents and those with compromised immune systems, who can be more susceptible to the virus.

Stop & Shop stores will open daily from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. for customers who are 60 and over or have weakened immune systems. Stores will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

ShopRite stores remain open for business, some on modified schedules. Visit your local store’s social media page for details on special shopping hours for older and at-risk shoppers.

BigY stores are open to shoppers 60 and up (and people with compromised immune systems) daily from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Pharmacies will also dedicate the first hour of each day to serving these shoppers. Click here for pharmacy hours by store. Regular store hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At Whole Foods, shoppers age 60 and up can shop for one hour before stores open to the general public. Store hours vary by location. If a store is scheduled to open at 9 a.m., older shoppers can go from 8 to 9 a.m.

Costco stores are open to members age 60-plus from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No more than two people may enter the warehouse per membership card.

Employment and housing

If you’ve been laid off from your job due to the coronavirus, you can file for unemployment benefits here.

The federal government is offering relief for homeowners facing hardship from COVID-19. Also, the governor negotiated an agreement with more than 50 banks and credit unions for a 90-day delay on mortgage payments for struggling homeowners. Visit the state Department of Banking website for details.

Renters must still pay rent, but Connecticut’s courts have stopped processing eviction orders until May 1. For help with housing issues, click here and here.

Insurance and health care

Lamont has ordered insurance companies to offer a 60-day grace period on premiums for people laid off, furloughed or fired due to COVID-19. This is an extension, not forgiveness, and is not automatic. Workers must submit documentation to their insurer.

Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, is letting qualified uninsured Connecticut residents enroll until midnight on April 17.

If you were laid off and lost health insurance, you can find help here.

If you don’t have a doctor and need medical treatment, search here for a community clinic near you, or click here for a list of medical hotlines. For more health care information, click here.

Stress relief

Many museums, arts organizations and fitness centers are moving programs online.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, including its farmhouse, galleries and Bendel mansion.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is offering a virtual, 3-D tour on its website.

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra kicked off a series of online musical events April 2 with a concert featuring the music of Dvorak and composer Florence Price.

Oak Hill Adaptive Sports and Fitness has group exercise videos and live training sessions on its YouTube and Facebook channels.

If you’re feeling isolated, go to the AARP Community Connections page or find Connecticut mental health resources here.

Avoiding fraud

Con artists and price-gougers have unfortunately taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to prey on victims. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network has information on COVID-19 scams.

Tele-town halls

Listen to AARP Connecticut's recent conversation with Gov. Lamont and other state officials to learn more about COVID-19 and Connecticut’s response.

AARP will host a weekly, live Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Hall on Thursdays at 1 p.m. Access them here.

More on Coronavirus

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