The Lamont administration is considering an executive order that would mandate vaccines for nursing home workers. The governor said that his office has been talking to nursing homes and is definitely thinking about a mandate.
"Given where we were with nursing homes 16 months ago, it is more important than ever," said Gov. Ned Lamont at a press conference Wednesday.
The governor said people can expect an announcement on a potential mandate soon.
Many private nursing homes in Connecticut already require their staff members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Beechwood Acute Care in New London announced a vaccine mandate to their employees Thursday.
"This is the best way to keep everybody safe," said Bill White, owner of Beechwood.
White said out of about 100 employees at Beechwood, 20 are unvaccinated. He is nervous about losing some workers because of the mandate, but he does not believe it will have too great of an impact on staffing.
“The initial feedback has been okay. I have had one unvaccinated person come to me and say alright I am going to do it. I have had multiple people who are vaccinated come to me and thank me," said White.
With the delta variant spreading, White said the time for the mandate is now.
“That’s the best opportunity to contain the whole problem," said White.
Masonicare also mandates COVID-19 vaccination for their employees.
"Without hesitation, we knew that this was the right decision to keep those that we serve each and every day safe," said JP Venoit, president and CEO of Masonicare.
Masonicare employs 1,700 healthcare workers across the state. They introduced their vaccine mandate in December, requiring any worker who does not have a medical or religious exemption to get vaccinated before July.
Venoit said they lost about 30 workers, but they have seen the vaccine work.
“Cases drop dramatically. You saw the severity of the existing cases not be what they were," said Venoit.
The Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities (CAHCF) said they would support a mandate.
“Even considering very real staffing concerns, certainly there are merits to having a staff vaccine mandate apply equally across the long term care system, and even equally beyond nursing homes to the health care provider community across the board," Matt Barrett, president and CEO of CAHCF, wrote in an email to NBC Connecticut. “If Connecticut state government adopted such a policy, the public should expect that Connecticut nursing homes would comply without any hesitancy with such a directive. Some are already moving in this direction.”