An election employee in New Haven, Connecticut, has tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to a dozen other workers being quarantined, city officials said Wednesday.
Maritza Bond, the city’s public health director, said the infected employee has not been to work since experiencing symptoms last week. She said offices in City Hall have been disinfected.
The 12 people placed in quarantine were temporary employees who spent Tuesday in the city clerk’s office counting absentee ballots and had no known contact with voters. Everyone was wearing masks and taking other precautions, Bond said.
Gage Frank, a spokesperson for Mayor Justin Elicker, said it didn’t appear vote counting was affected, but he was checking into it.
City-Town Clerk Michael Smart has asked the secretary of the state’s office for support to complete election operations. He said most of the remaining work was data entry into the state’s election reporting system.
The pandemic also played a role on Election Day in Stamford, where the state Elections Enforcement Commission issued a cease-and-desist order compelling the town clerk to provide emergency ballots to quarantined voters. The Hartford Courant reported that at least two voters had complained after being denied those emergency ballots.
In other coronavirus-related news:
Gov. Ned Lamont’s office reported 530 new coronavirus cases across the state on Wednesday.
There also were 11 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 4,645. The state said 374 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number since early June.
“Our hospitalization rate went up a lot a couple of days ago,” Lamont said. “It went down a little bit yesterday. I take no comfort in that, except to say that the rate of hospitalizations went up a lot faster in April than is going on in October, November.”
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Connecticut has risen over the past two weeks from 1.92% on Oct. 20 to 3.55% on Tuesday.
State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Connecticut, The Associated Press calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
Lamont announced Wednesday that the state is will provide a second round of rental assistance payments under the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program.
The governor’s office says for the first time it will accept applications directly from small landlords.
The program provides them with up to $4,000 in rental assistance on behalf of approved tenants. During the first round earlier this year, more than $2.2 million was distributed to landlords on behalf of 826 households.
New applications were suspended in the summer because of overwhelming demand.
Lamont says he’s allocated $40 million of federal coronavirus relief money to the program.
Quinnipiac University moved most of its classes online amid a spike in positive tests on campus in Hamden.
The school said in an email that is has recorded 55 positive tests among students since Monday, including 34 living on campus, and has decided to elevate its alert level to “orange” in response.
The means most classes will be held remotely at least through Friday, testing will be increased, the dining halls will provide only takeout meals and students are prohibited from attending in-person gatherings on campus.
“We recognize that these increased restrictions are inconvenient and challenging, but we know from public health experts and the experiences of other universities that these measures work to stem the tide of infection,” wrote Dr. David Hill, the senior medical adviser on the school’s COVID-19 Task Force.
The school said exceptions are being made for some classes its medical and law schools and department of health sciences.
Associated Press writer Susan Haigh contributed to this report.
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