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COVID-19 Update, American Rescue Plan Supporting Our Region and Helping Unemployed

Submitted by Norm Needleman, State Senator.

(March 24, 2021) I hope you and your family are staying healthy, safe, and enjoying the first days of spring. Please take a couple of minutes to read an update regarding COVID-19. Plus, further information on the American Rescue Plan COVID-19 relief package.

COVID-19 Update

New Online Form for Homebound Residents to Receive the Vaccine

The Department of Public Health has a new online form for residents in Connecticut who are unable to physically or medically leave their home, to fill out in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you fill out the form, a person from your town will contact you. To submit your information online, you can click here. So far, Connecticut residents age 45 and older, healthcare personnel, first responders, those living or working in long-term care facilities, residents and staff of congregate living settings, educators, and childcare providers are eligible to sign up for the vaccine. Those 16 and older will be eligible to sign up for the vaccine starting April 5.

More Than 1 Million First Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccine Distributed

As of March 22, Connecticut has administered 1,042,185 total first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut, with another 584,155 people receiving two doses and considered fully vaccinated. Overall, 1,587,762 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed statewide since vaccination efforts began.

More Than Half Of Adults 45+ In Connecticut Have Received A COVID-19 Vaccine Dose

As of March 22, 53 percent of adults over the age of 45 in Connecticut have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 36 percent of all adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine as well. Statewide, 79 percent of residents over the age of 75 have received at least one dose; 76 percent of residents aged 65-74 have received at least one dose; 53 percent of residents aged 55-64 have received at least one dose; and 22 percent of residents aged 45-54 have received one dose. The state says it is on track to open further vaccine availability to all adults over the age of 16 on April 5.

American Rescue Plan Update

Supporting Our Region

Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan, federal legislation signed into law by President Biden, Connecticut towns and cities will receive an influx of financial support, with our Senate District’s 11 towns expected to receive more than $10 million alone. These funds can’t be used on tax breaks or public pensions; town and cities are required to use them to support essential workers, including police officers, teachers, firefighters and sanitation workers, and to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, assistant households, small businesses, non-profits and impacted industries including tourism and hospitality.

Supports Health Care

The Plan additionally provides vital support to health care, establishing a national COVID-19 vaccination program to bolster the administration and distribution of vaccinations nationwide, further using the Defense Production Act to ensure vaccine production, personal protective equipment and supply chains are shored up to prevent further interruptions. Workers who have lost work can receive a 100 percent subsidy to pay for COBRA health benefits through September 30, 2021. It further increases the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits as well, giving more access to health coverage and benefitting public health state- and nationwide.

Helps The Unemployed

In addition, those who have lost work due to the pandemic will see their unemployment benefits remain with a $300 weekly increase in benefits through early September through the American Rescue Plan. Workers receiving unemployment will automatically receive the highest possible tax credits to buy health insurance, while the Paycheck Protection Program gets expanded and resupplied with more than $7 billion in funding. Additionally, the Plan creates a restaurant revitalization fund, which will provide $28 billion to help restaurant and bar owners, and adds $15 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Begin Direct Stimulus Payments to Students

Connecticut state colleges and universities are beginning to process $14 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II payments to eligible college students, as directed by the federal COVID-19 relief package authorized in December 2020. Community college students can receive payments ranging from $44 to $1,500 depending on their level of need, with average payments at approximately $400; eligible students must be enrolled in at least one credit-bearing class. State university payouts, on average, are approximately $580, with maximum payments ranging from $758 to $828 depending on the institution. Students will receive money in coming weeks, which can be used to cover any part of the cost of college attendance or emergency costs arising because of COVID-19, including tuition, food, housing, health care or childcare.

Sharon Challenger
I am a professional Scenic Artist and have also worked as a Systems Analyst and Senior Programmer Analyst for the Travelers and Yale University. Education: Post University, Wesleyan University and Yale University School of Drama.

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