Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order mandating that all long-term care facility staff members in Connecticut get vaccinated against COVID-19.
This means that staff members at facilities such as nursing homes will have to receive the first dose of the vaccine by no later than Sept. 7, Lamont said.
The governor filed Executive Order No. 13B, which will take effect starting immediately. Anyone who does not comply with the order will subject their respective facility to a $20,000 civil penalty per day, state officials said.
Other long-term care facilities include residential care homes, assisted living services agencies, chronic disease hospitals, managed residential communities, and intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.
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“Now that vaccines are widely available and scientifically proven to be safe and the most effective method for preventing hospitalization and death, it would be absolutely irresponsible for anyone working in a long-term care facility to not receive this protection that could prevent widespread infection among those who are most vulnerable from dying of this communicable disease, some of whom for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated themselves. I applaud the staff of our long-term care facilities for everything they do to protect our older populations," Lamont said in a statement.
The governor said that one-third of coronavirus deaths in the United States have happened among residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
"Connecticut nursing homes support the governor’s staff vaccination mandate policy. When implemented on a wide scale, the staff vaccine mandate will provide maximum protection for all residents, staff and others in our communities from the known and substantial risks of COVID-19," said Matt Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities/ Connecticut Center for Assisted Living.
“For these reasons, we believe the staff vaccine mandate should apply beyond nursing homes to cover other health care providers serving populations vulnerable to the virus, such as hospitals, assisted living communities, and home health care," he continued.
In Connecticut, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in nursing homes among staff and residents. Particularly over the past three weeks, there have been 51 resident cases, which is a sharp increase compared to the six cases reported over the previous three-week period, state officials said.
There have also been several deaths in recent weeks of residents who tested positive for the virus. This comes after a period of seven consecutive weeks without a COVID-19 death.
Approximately 55% of all nursing homes in the state have a staff vaccination rate of lower than 75%. Only 21% of nursing homes have more than 85% of their staff vaccinated.
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz signed the executive order in her capacity as acting governor at the request of Gov. Lamont.