Gov. Ned Lamont visited a nursing home in Bloomfield today to talk about the steps the state has taken to protect its most vulnerable residents. The visit comes just weeks before vaccination and visitation rules change.
“My home pretty much has what it needs to protect me from COVID,” said John Baliscano, a nursing home resident. “We can do rapid testing. We’ve been doing other things to keep us safe.”
But some of those rules are about to change. The bill Lamont signed into law earlier this week requires nursing home workers to get boosted before March 7 or risk losing their job.
“We’re concerned with the number of nursing home staffers that may be quitting because of the vaccine mandate, which is now delayed to March 7, they only kicked the can down the road,” House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said.
Candelora says it’s going to make the staffing shortage worse.
“My primary concern at this time is staffing,” Baliscano says. “We work short-staffed and it’s very hard to get the help we need.”
Visitation rules will change on March 15. Visitors will no longer have to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test to visit.
“The seniors as you know are the highest risk people so I think we should do as much as possible to protect them,” Rep. William Petit Jr. said.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in our state who values the protections and the protocols that have been put in place to keep residents safe more than loved ones and visitors -- essential caregivers,” said Mairead Painter, Connecticut’s Long-term Care Ombudsman.
There have been 4,086 nursing home residents who have died from covid since the beginning of the pandemic.
“What I want to say is what could we have done differently to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Lamont said.