Nicole Leonard

Nicole Leonard joined Connecticut Public Radio to cover health care after several years of reporting for newspapers. In her native state of New Jersey, she covered medical and behavioral health care, as well as arts and culture, for The Press of Atlantic City. Her work on stories about domestic violence and childhood food insecurity won awards from the New Jersey Press Association.

While an undergraduate journalism student at Boston University, Nicole was a reporter for The Daily Free Press and a radio host at WTBU. As an intern, her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. In her downtime, she watches way too many movies and television shows, which complicates her goal to become a better runner.

Weeks of state investigations, monitoring and intervention at Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich following a COVID-19 outbreak has culminated in the imminent relocation of all residents.

In a rare and unprecedented move, the Department of Public Health's acting commissioner Deidre Gifford signed an emergency order Wednesday requiring the facility to discharge its 53 residents to other long-term care facilities. 

The former commissioner of the state Department of Public Health is firing back over her May termination ahead of an impending report this month on Connecticut’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two months after Gov. Ned Lamont announced her dismissal, Renée Coleman-Mitchell said in a written statement released late Monday night by the law office of Eric R. Brown that she was going to “set the record straight in my own words.” 

Caravan 4 Justice activists and protesters gather at the north side of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford to demonstrate against the systemic abuse of police power perpetrated against the black community, June 7, 2020.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

It’s been more than four months since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by Louisville Metro Police as they executed a no-knock search warrant. She was a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency medical technician and aspired to become a nurse.

Connecticut’s continuing decline in the number of daily hospitalizations, as well as an uptick in testing capabilities, has both state officials and federal health experts confident that Wednesday’s reopening will be successful.

Connecticut hospitals are receiving more patients ill with COVID-19 as the new coronavirus continues to spread rapidly.

Public health experts predict that hospitalization rates will get worse in the coming weeks, putting a burden on health care professionals who are also trying to protect themselves and other patients from becoming infected. 

It was 7 a.m. and cold on a recent Wednesday in Hartford. Despite the early hour, workers from Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center were outside in a nearby parking lot, unloading medical equipment and workstation carts from a mobile unit.

The carts were rolled into a heated white tent, and boxes of hospital gloves, paperwork files and test kits were set up on a nearby table. More doctors, nurses and hospital workers started to arrive, and by 8 a.m., cars were forming a line at the hospital’s drive-through coronavirus testing site.

Adalis Martinez isn’t eating out as much these days. She also doesn’t spend too much time in stores. And she’s washing her hands — a lot.

“When I go to the store and come out, I’m washing my hands even in my car, so that I don’t touch anything,” she said. “It’s very concerning.” 

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in the United States amid a global outbreak of a novel coronavirus, both federal and state health officials urge communities to prepare for the spread of disease.

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams met with state leaders and health officials Monday at the Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory in Rocky Hill. 

Hundreds of people packed into the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Wednesday ahead of a public hearing on a bill that would change the state’s childhood vaccinations laws.

Connecticut children can attend public school by either complying with required vaccinations or by obtaining an exemption from vaccination based on religious or medical reasons. A proposed bill would eliminate the religious exemption. 

Judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this week found that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate -- the requirement that residents buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is unconstitutional.

But they held off from saying that the entire law is invalid, sending the case back to a lower court in Texas for more analysis into which parts of the federal law can continue without the individual mandate. 

A large silver tank sits in the front of Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton. In it are gallons of clean, filtered water that pump into the school’s fountains, sinks and water bottle filling stations.

It’s been a fixture on school grounds since Nov. 6 when town officials notified parents that Cherry Brook’s well water could be contaminated with PFAS, a family of man-made chemicals that may be toxic to humans. That contamination is thought to have occurred after firefighting foam was used at the school five years ago.

Connecticut Supreme Court justices ruled Wednesday that remaining frozen human embryos belonging to a divorced couple can be destroyed, as previously stipulated in a contract agreement.

The court avoided making a judgement in an argument about affording embryos human rights, but its decision did set a legal precedent for future possession disputes by clarifying how contract agreements should be followed.

New state data show that vaccination rates among some of the youngest schoolchildren in Connecticut fall below federally recommended levels.

The Department of Public Health Monday released school-by-school immunization data from the 2018/2019 year, which showed there were 134 schools where less than 95% percent of kindergartners got vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.

A third Connecticut resident has died from EEE, and another person has been diagnosed with the illness, state officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a person from East Haddam between 60 and 69 years old died during the third week of September from the mosquito-borne illness.

A Superior Court judge has dismissed a parents’ lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Public Health over the release of school-level vaccination data.

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, challenged DPH’s decision to release school-by-school vaccination data in May. The report also included the percentage of kids with religious and medical exemptions at each school.

Three more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease that is possibly related to vaping.

The announcement Friday by the state Department of Public Health brings the total number of cases to five people. State officials are working with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a surge of severe respiratory illnesses across the country.

Governor Ned Lamont is pushing back on his own Department of Public Health’s recent decision to withhold further data on school vaccination rates. 

A group of Connecticut residents, advocates and state leaders in Hartford are demanding systematic change in public housing assistance, in the wake of several scandals over shocking conditions at public housing complexes. Many say the help available to tenants from the federal government is inadequate.

Jim Webb has been drinking the tap water in his Glastonbury home for 15 years. When he first bought the house, he got the water tested, because it comes from a private well.

Democratic lawmakers are getting ready to take on child vaccination legislation in the next session, which won’t start until January or February.

Legislators said Thursday that they are holding off on changes to the state’s childhood vaccination laws, including the religious exemption.

New and corrected data on school vaccination rates were released Friday after the state gave out controversial and disputed information last week.

Officials from the state Department of Public Health said they worked with school officials to identify and correct errors in a report that shows the number of unvaccinated children attending every school in the state.

The option for terminally ill residents to choose when and how they they die isn’t coming to Connecticut this year.

The state Public Health committee did not hold a vote on a medical aid-in-dying bill Monday, which means it won’t advance by Wednesday’s legislative deadline.

Supporters of the proposal called the decision “beyond disappointing” while those who are against the idea say it’s a relief that the bill won’t go any further.

Peeling paint, leaking showers, mice and mold—these are just some of the problems that residents of a Hartford apartment complex say they have been dealing with for years. But now, people living at the Barbour Gardens apartment complex claimed a victory in their fight with management after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced they would help residents relocate to safe housing.