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Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group holds virtual roundtable on balancing health, the economy


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group held a virtual roundtable Thursday morning regarding how best to balance health and the economy. 

“This pandemic is unique in that it is impacting every aspect of our daily life, and so we’re all dealing with it one way or another,” said Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon.  

Leaders of various departments, agencies, and labor groups talked about their plans, and concerns.

“SEIU has lost over 20 plus members, plus family, and we’re talking about health care workers with our sister union, SEIU local 1199,” said Rochelle Palache of SEIU Local 32BJ.

Palache represents workers who clean, maintain and secure office buildings. Buildings that could be busy again soon.

“Our security officers are now being asked to take temperatures of tenants coming into buildings. That’s not what they signed up for,” Palache said. “They’re going to need the proper training, and they’re going to need the proper PPE, and they’re also going to absolutely need hazard pay.”

People struggling with mental and physical challenges may be slower to move out of isolation. For them, the state has remote options.

“There are online groups for family members, favor parents, to be able to connect virtually with other people,” saidi Delphin-Rittmon. “So again, getting out the message that social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean social isolation.”

For those who do get get sick, it’s important to make sure they can stay isolated. 

“If you’re going to be home for 2 weeks, you’re going to probably need some stuff,” said Marcella Nunez Smith, of the Yale School of Medicine. “How are we going to make sure that there’s some food, if people need temporary housing, if you’re unable to safely separate from others in your household, particularly if you live in a multi-generational hoursehold.”

The answer they say, is working together, which is what this advisory group plans to continue doing.

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