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8/26/2020 - 8.26 TOWN UPDATE


Dear Fairfielders,

I want to start off by sharing my sincere gratitude for your thoughts and prayers over the last week. After going through a very serious medical emergency last weekend, my son is now out of the hospital and working toward recovering. I can’t begin to explain how terrifying and difficult it was for my husband and I, and how blessed we and our entire family feels to have our son still with us.

It meant so much to me to receive so many lovely and kind words of encouragement through email and on social media from all of you. I am truly grateful to be back at work on behalf of such a compassionate community. 


Coincidentally, I am excited to announce that FEMA is awarding the Fairfield Fire Department a grant totaling $53,832 to purchase Cardiac Compression Devices and Automatic Defibrillators. I know all too well how critical these life savings devices are after my son's experience last week. I congratulate the Fire Department on their success and sincerely appreciate their commitment as first responders. 


COVID-19 UPDATE:
With back to school approaching and students returning to our local Universities, COVID is top of mind for many parents and residents. The Town of Fairfield has 740 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and a total of 145 of our residents have sadly lost their lives. Of the 740 residents who have tested positive in Fairfield, 365 have reported that they have fully recovered and 213 are assumed recovered.  

Charts and data on Fairfield cases including age, gender, nursing home statistics, testing samples, and different trend lines can be found at fairfieldct.org/covid19data. The Health Department has been providing data since March and this data page is updated daily.

Schools:
This week, the health department launched a separate page, fairfieldct.org/covid19schooldata to break out the student information, as children prepare to go back to school. You can also watch theirecent video explaining the data here

Many parents have written in asking why the school district didn’t choose to have students return full time since the data shows low numbers of children testing positive in Fairfield. While this decision is the sole authority of the school administration and Board of Education, parents should be aware the Superintedent shared the biggest challenge for them for returning to full time in person school this fall, was maintaining the 6' distance in the classroom, which is a state requirement. You can learn more about the school district's decision in this video from Superintendent Mike Cummings. 

Universities:
For information on the steps the Universities are taking to keep our residents and students safe, please scroll below in this email. 

Governor Lamont last week made modifications to face covering requirements with his 66th Executive Order, which requires anyone declining to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical condition to have documentation of the condition. We continue to urge residents to wear a face covering when in public and unable to maintain a 6' distance. 

Contact Tracing
One of the key tools we have to contain the spread of COVID-19 is Contact Tracing. For this initiative to be successful, the Health Department needs the cooperation of residents who test positive for COVID-19.

The primary purpose of contact tracing is to identify and notify direct contacts of confirmed cases as quickly as possible and to ensure those exposed are self-quarantining. The information provided in the interviews with confirmed cases helps reduce the potential spread of the virus in our community. 

Any Fairfield resident who tests positive for COVID-19 and has not received a phone call from the Fairfield Health Department or the Connecticut COVID Tracing system within 24 hours of receiving their result is urged to contact the Fairfield Health Department at 203-256-3022.


Traveling? Please take the time to check the CT Travel Advisory page to know what states are on the list as most impacted. If you travel to these states, you are required to quarantine for 14-days upon return to protect the members of our community. 
FAIRFIELD UTILITY & INTERNET RELIABILITY & RATES INFORMATIONAL FORUM:
While I wasn't able to attend, the Fairfield State Delegation co-hosted an Informational Public Utilities & Internet Reliability Town Hall via Zoom with special guest Attorney Lee Hoffman, Chair of the Connecticut Business Industry and Association (CBIA) Energy Group and Partner at Pullman and Comley. If you weren't able to participate, I encourage you to watch the video, specifically the portion from Attorney Hoffman for a great perspective on the history and current regulations with Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

Watch it by clicking on the image above or here

On Thursday, August 27 at 10:30am, the legislative Energy and Technology Committee is hosting an informational forum via Zoom. This hearing is expected to cover a broad set of issues, from the role of state utility regulators and the process of setting rates to utility staffing levels and how the companies communicate with customers and municipalities during outages. United Illuminating and Eversource executives will participate.

While the public cannot participate in the hearing, email comments are encouraged. I submitted testimony on behalf of our town and Emergency Management Team you can read here

You can watch it live on CT-N.com (And on demand). If you would like to submit testimony, email ETtestimony@cga.ct.gov. I would encourage you to copy me and your state legislators on the email as well. 

I encourage residents to browse below for more information and resources including our annual hazardous waste day collection this Saturday at Veteran's Park. 

 
Sincerely, 

Brenda L. Kupchick
Fairfield First Selectwoman
HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION AT VETERAN'S PARK: 
On August 29, 2020 from 9 am to 2 pm, residents can dispose of hazardous waste. Pre-registration is required. Please be sure to wear a face covering and stay in your vehicle as you are guided through the process. 

Pre-register for the collection online here

To view a full list of accepted items, click here
UNIVERSITY COVID POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: 
The Emergency Management Planning Team met with representatives from both Fairfield University and Sacred Heart. I am very pleased to say they are both meeting or exceeding the state guidance. Here are highlights:

- All students and employees will be tested upon arrival on campus
- All students coming from locations listed on travel advisories will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Those students will be tested multiple times.
- Staggered move in schedules will be followed to manage crowd size and reduce exposures 
- Students and employees will be randomly tested each week
-All students and staff will have to complete daily health checks via an app and have to show their passing health check prior to entry to classes 
- There will be training for all students and staff 
- Numerous changes are being made to encourage social distancing on campus and limit gatherings
- Both universities have strict guidelines and consequences for violating policies on having parties on campus or off campus. Read the Dean of Student’s letter to students
 here.
- Face coverings are required and provided along with hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies in common areas 
- All sports programs and performances have been postponed
- Visitors to campus will be limited; students cannot have any visitors in the dorms.
- There are isolation, quarantine procedures, and contact tracing procedures in place
- Both universities have a shutdown plan if necessary 

Our universities take the safety of their students and staff seriously and they are excellent community partners to our town. The town will continue to work closely with both universities to ensure the safety for our residents and students calling Fairfield home.  
 
Read more about Fairfield University’s policies
 here.
Read more about Sacred Heart University’s policies here
 
I also want to note I will be speaking directly to the off campus students on zoom next week and our police have had several zooms with Fairfield University students who live by the beach and other off campus to portray the seriousness with which we take COVID-19 in the Town of Fairfield.

 
FAIRFIELD BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN COMMITTEE: 
The Town of Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee has been working to encourage walking and biking for transportation, recreation, exercise and quality of life.

Working with multiple town departments we have established 
bicycle routesinstalled bicycle repair stationsworked to improve pedestrian infrastructure, and authored the Town of Fairfield Complete Streets Policy (approved by the Board of Selectman in 2018).

With more and more of our citizens using our roads, we would like to provide you with some important safety reminders for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. View the document here. 

 
??FAIRFIELD POLICE: DISTRACTED DRIVING
Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. The Fairfield Police are encouraging drivers to put down the phone and remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

In support of August's National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Fairfield Police will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from August 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020, for the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort. The goal of the campaign is to step up enforcement efforts to catch distracted, texting drivers and enforce distracted-driving laws.
VOTING:
Polls will be open from 6 AM to 8 PM on Election Day sanitized with social distancing measures in place. If you do not wish to go to your polling place you may vote by absentee ballot. 
 
The Secretary of the State (SOTS) will be sending applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters in the next few weeks. Completed applications should be mailed to Town Clerk, 611 Old Post Road, Fairfield CT, 06824 or they may be dropped off in the Lobby Dropbox located in Old Town Hall marked Town Clerk.
 
If you have already filed an Application for an Absentee Ballot, you do not need to complete the application sent to you by SOTS. This especially applies to college students who have already submitted their completed applications with their school address to which the ballot will be mailed. Absentee ballots will become available 31 days prior to the election.


Some residents have asked about the absentee ballot process: 
The absentee ballots, after each being endorsed by the Town Clerk on the outer envelope with the date, precise time and their signature are presorted by voting districts and sent over to the Registrar’s of Voters Office.
 
The Registrars then cross off the names on the Official Voter Lists of the absentee voters typed on each envelope.  Each of those crossed off names are then Marked with a capital A so as to not be counted by the official checkers as having voted at the polling place.
 
The Registrars then appoint, train and swear in the absentee ballot counters.The counters report to the Moderator at the central count location or to the Polling Places.
 
The Moderator records the total number of ballots on the Certificate of Absentee Ballot Count.

The counters check each envelope to be sure it has been endorsed by the Town Clerk.

It must show the date, precise time the clerk received the ballot and the clerk’s signature.  If the outer envelope does not comply substantially with this requirement the ballot cannot be counted and is marked rejected with a statement for the reasons for the rejection.  These envelopes are then placed in and sealed in a depository envelope.

The inner envelope is then inspected for having been signed by the voter. If not signed the envelope is marked rejected. If signed, folded ballots are removed from the inner envelope. 

Ballots are then kept folded for voter secrecy. They are then shuffled, unfolded, and checked for marking errors.

They are then put into the tabulator machines for counting if there are no marking errors. Hand counted ballots with errors are inspected for voter intent by the counters and the moderator. Once the counting is completed all envelopes are sealed in large envelopes and returned to the Town Clerk for secure storage.

There are many other precautions which are outlined in the ‘Procedure Manual for Counting Absentee Ballots’ on the 
CT Secretary of the State’s website. 


If anyone is interested in working on Election Day in Fairfield, they should e-mail 
Steve Elworthy at selworthy@fairfieldct.org or Matt Waggner at mwaggner@fairfieldct.org.
HEAT KILLS: If You Love 'Em, Don't Leave 'Em 
It takes just a few minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to skyrocket, sometimes causing entirely preventable tragedies. I worked hard to launch this program in 2015 with the Fairfield Police Department, which has been replicated throughout the state, in an effort to remind residents of the dangers of leaving their kids or pets in a car during warm weather. I thank all the stores who have posted these signs in their parking lots. 
TOWN GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
Sullivan Independence Hall and Old Town Hall are open to the public by appointment only for the safety of employees and residents. Please visit this summary page for an overview and follow links to specific departments for more information. 
Fairfield's Operations During COVID-19
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM 
The Town of Fairfield will no longer be utilizing the current alert system known as CodeRed to issue emergency and community alerts to residents and business owners. We are switching to a new system.

In order to continue receiving Emergency and Community alerts from the Town of Fairfield, you must sign up again. Visit www.fairfieldct.org/alerts 
Help is available to Fairfield small businesses that are struggling due to the pandemic.  The Fairfield COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program was established to provide limited, one time direct financial assistance to eligible Fairfield small businesses that have no more than five full-time employees and that have been adversely affected by the public health emergency. Applications are still being accepted by the Office of Community & Economic Development. To learn more or to apply, please visit the website: www.fairfieldct.org/covidsbr
Eligibility & Application
While the State has paused plans for its Phase III re-opening, it has issued new industry-specific rules and expanded guidance for various businesses.  These include changes to retailpersonal serviceshair salons & barbershops and indoor recreation that clarify that:
  • non-essential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask
  • updated guidance in the event that an employee tests positive for COVID-19
  • additional guidance for use of restroom facilities and ensuring compliance with capacity limitations and proper hygiene.
For restaurantsservers are no longer required to wear gloves and indoor musical performances are now permitted.
The Fairfield COVID-19 Relief Fund was established to provide limited, one-time assistance to Fairfield residents who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Use of the funds must be directly related to the effects of the virus. Donate to the fund or apply for relief by clicking below.
Donate or Apply to the Fairfield COVID-19 Relief Fund
FARMER'S MARKETS:
The downtown farmers market is held Sundays on Sherman Green, from 10AM-2PM throughout the summer months and into the fall season. In keeping with CDC and State of CT guidelines, face masks and social distancing protocols are required.  For more information and a list of vendors, please visit www.fairfieldfarmersmarket.org.  For those unable to make Sundays, the Greenfield Hill Farmers Marketlocated at 65 Hillside Road, is another great local option which is open on Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM, through the fall.
STEP OUT FOR THE BRAVE 40,000 STEP VIRTUAL CHALLENGE 
Between Saturday, August 8th and Sunday, August 16th, join the Step Out for the Brave 40,000 Step Virtual Challenge to take 40,000 steps for each of the 40,000 homeless Veterans across the United States. Complete the challenge individually or as a group. Step Out in one day or nine. Each step you take is a step towards helping a homeless Veteran.  Register and more information here
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
If you become unemployed due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should file for unemployment benefits. Click here for more information. For frequently asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) for workers and employers click here.
ASSISTANCE FOR RENTERS, HOMEOWNERS & RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS 
Governor Lamont announced a comprehensive plan to put more than $33 million in state and federal resources to work providing emergency assistance to renters, homeowners, and residential landlords impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Rental assistance information can be found here. Further information is below:
SOCIAL SERVICES
Social Services continues to assist by telephone town residents who are experiencing difficulty providing the basic needs for themselves and their families, especially during these unprecedented times. Please call with any questions or concerns: 203-256-3170 or visit at fairfieldct.org/humanservices
BIGELOW CENTER 
Transportation services are running on a limited basis for medical appointments and grocery shopping. Reservations for rides are first-come, first-served for shopping and medical appointments and must be made no less than one week in advance. Please call the senior center for more information: 203-256-3166.
 
The buses may only transport four riders per trip. For those who do not live in Senior and Disabled Housing, Fairfield Senior Transportation will provide rides Tuesdays or Thursdays each week. Masks must be worn to board the buses. Rides are now available to medical appointments for Fairfield’s seniors and people with disabilities on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 – 3:00 PM. 
     
If you or anyone you know are homebound and unable to shop, the Mobile Food Pantry is available every other week and lunches are available for those who are homebound. Please call Social Services for more information: 203-256-3170.
COVID-19 TESTING
Testing capacity has increased in our area. To view locations where to get tested, please visit fairfieldct.org/covid19testing.
OPERATION HOPE FOOD PANTRY 
Operation Hope wants to make sure residents of Fairfield are aware that the food pantry remains open and is ready to help by providing food and other basic needs to community residents, as they have for nearly 35 years. The pantry is currently operating as a drive-up service at 636 Old Post Road offering prepacked bags of groceries appropriate for various-sized households. 

Hours of Operation: Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10:00-12:00; Thursday from 4:00 -6:00. Visit operationhopect.org.
FAIRFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Fairfield Public Main Library will be reopening for quick browsing and checkout on weekday afternoons 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Learn more about Library Express.


Please visit fairfieldpubliclibrary.org  for full details regarding curb side pick up.   Fairfield Public Library continues to offer 24/7 access to their digital collection of books, music, magazines and movies plus a wide and varied assortment of virtual programs. Learn more here:  fplct.librarymarket.com/.

Need a library card?   Follow this link fairfieldpubliclibrary.org/my-fpl/library-cards/ and get started today!


Sign up for the library newsletter here
PEQUOT LIBRARY: WE'RE HERE, WE CARE 
Pequot Library's doors may be temporarily closed, but our librarians and staff are still here for you! Enjoy digital programs like story times, author talks, book clubs, and more! Get details on our website and social media:  
FacebookInstagramTwitterand YouTubeSign up for Pequot Library's Digital Digest eNewsletter or contact our Chief Librarian for personalized book recommendations. 

On Monday, June 22, Pequot will be curbside pickup. Please contact us for more information.

Important COVID-19 Links:

Fairfield Health Department coronavirus website:  fairfieldct.org/covid19

For the latest numbers of cases, deaths and those recovered click here

For additional data and graphs of activity click here

For guidance and updates on Connecticut’s coronavirus preparedness efforts, visit: ct.gov/coronavirus

Contact Information:

For general questions you can call 211

Hartford HealthCare’s COVID-19 Clinical Command Center hotline, staffed by healthcare professionals, is now available to the community. To reach the 24-hour hotline, call 860.972.8100 or (toll-free) 833.621.0600.

YNHH has a call center number it’s 1-833-ASK YNHH that’s open from 7am - 7pm.
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