Department of Public Health announces start of influenza vaccination clinics in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is announcing today details about the influenza vaccination clinics in Connecticut for the coming flu season and is encouraging people in the state to get vaccinated for the flu as soon as possible.
This is coupled with a message from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that residents “mask up, lather up and sleeve up” this fall. Wearing a mask, cleaning hands often, and getting a flu shot early are key to staying protected from the flu and COVID-19 in the coming months. Flu vaccination contains no direct protection against COVID-19 but can significantly lessen flu symptoms. Severe influenza illness can leave the immune system vulnerable to dangerous viral infections such as COVID-19.
The Department of Public Health strongly encourages all Connecticut residents to make plans to get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in communities. The CDC recommends that both adults and children get vaccinated against influenza. It is also important to vaccinate children as part of keeping schools safe and healthy and preventing spread of flu to adults. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop protection in the body against the flu.
For a listing of local health department clinics, click here. If the local health department in your area does not have flu vaccine, check with health care providers or pharmacies to see if the flu vaccine is available. To find a nearby pharmacy, visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder at vaccinefinder.org or visit Medfinder at medfinder.org.
In the 2019-2020 flu season, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported a total of 3,013 persons hospitalized due to flu complications and 79 flu-associated deaths, including one pediatric death. Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. Each year in the U.S., millions of people get sick from the flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands of people die from influenza or influenza related causes. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against influenza disease.
Governor Lamont launches initiative to provide emergency food resources for Connecticut food pantries
Governor Lamont, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt announced a new initiative to provide emergency food resources to Connecticut’s food pantries as the state continues to respond to the ongoing impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the initiative, food pantries in need of assistance can visit CTPantryResources.com to connect to resources on food procurement and distribution, volunteer assistance, shipping and storage supports, and more.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is now using the website to facilitate statewide distribution of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers-to-Families Food Boxes starting Monday, September 28 through Saturday, October 31. Interested food pantries or other parties must fill out an online form on the website to express their interest in receiving food boxes and confirm the ability to meet the following requirements:
- Able to accept at least 9 pallets containing 576 food boxes and 3 pallets of milk containing 576 gallons;
- Ability to unload the trailer using a pallet jack and/or forklift and/or loading dock;
- Provide on-site point of contact to receive and/or manage distribution of boxes; and
- Provide immediate distribution or have access to refrigerated storage.
Organizations that are unable to meet the criteria should contact their local emergency management director, who will connect them to regional coordinated efforts. [To locate regional emergency management directors, click here.]
Connecticut has been designated a high-priority area by the USDA for distribution of Famers-to-Families Food Boxes. As such, more than 30 trailer loads will be delivered per week. Each trailer will contain 1,152 food boxes with five pounds of meat, five pounds of dairy, 12 pounds of produce, and one gallon of milk.
Earlier this year, Governor Lamont tasked Commissioner Hurlburt to identify weaknesses in emergency feeding and long-term response of the food supply chain in Connecticut during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Commissioner Hurlburt’s direction, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture collaborated with the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the five regional coordinators, and End Hunger Connecticut to develop a strategic approach to distribution of the USDA’s food boxes.
In addition to providing the ability to sign up for food box distribution, CTPantryResources.com includes mapping tools to identify high-need areas with lack of resources. These maps can help pantries assess the potential demand they could face as unemployment benefits change and demand for food supports increase.
As Connecticut prepares to response to a potential resurgence of the virus, equipping food pantries with tools and resources to help them plan and prepare are a vital component to Connecticut’s response. However, the existing feeding programs cannot be ignored. While the website is geared toward food pantries, it also provides information for those experiencing food insecurity.
By directing those in need to 2-1-1 for immediate attention and providing links on eligibility for programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and mobile food bank schedules, residents can increase access to nutritious food.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
The CTAlert notification system – the state’s emergency alert system – provides text message notifications to users. Sign up by texting COVIDCT to 888-777. And for the most up-to-date information from the state on COVID-19 – including frequently asked questions, guidance and resources – visit ct.gov/coronavirus. You can also find answers to general questions by calling the 2-1-1 hotline. It’s available 24 hours a day with multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access.