Conn. (WTNH) — The pandemic may have caused many of us to change our definition of a hero. From the start, essential workers took care of our health, bagged our groceries, provided transportation, and more.

“We call these people heroes and we need to start treating them like heroes,” said Ed Hawthorne, Connecticut AFL-CIO president.

“They showed up when a lot of us were able to stay home and stay safe. They were required to show up, to go to work every single day.”

Help is on the way. Through the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund, the state has set aside $34 million for essential workers who lived in Connecticut, contracted COVID-19, became sick and were unable to work or died between March 10, 2020 and July 20, 2021. 

The video below is from a previous newscast on Jan. 4

“What the program covers is lost wages, out of pocket medical expenses as well as unfortunately burial expenses for any family member or loved one that may have been lost,” Hawthorne said.

The $34 million will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis through June 30, 2024 or until the sum has been depleted.

You can apply up until July 20 of this year. Click here to learn more.