Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order requiring nursing home visitors to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test result is now in effect.
The governor made the announcement about the requirement on Wednesday.
“We know that some of the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 include those who live in nursing homes, which is why we need to be doing everything we can to protect them from this virus,” Lamont said. “This is one more precaution we can implement at these facilities to keep them safe.”
Executive Order No. 14F specifically requires visitors to:
- Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if eligible, under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster;
- Provide paper or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either a rapid antigen test that was completed within the previous 48 hours or a PCR test that was completed within the previous 72 hours; or
- Take a rapid antigen test at the nursing home.
The order requires nursing homes to deny entry to any visitor who tests positive for COVID-19 or who refuses to take a rapid antigen test.
Mairead Painter is the state’s long-term care ombudsman who’s in charge of protecting and ensuring the safety of older adults and those inside long-term care facilities.
“This allows a balance between having access to visitors and essential support care givers and infection control measures,” said Painter. “We want everyone to do whatever is possible to help maintain the safety and well-being of the individuals who are receiving their long-term services.”
Painter also adds that the state selected antigen testing for their quick results after some concerns from loved ones of long-term care residents.
“If someone has recently had COVID and has since recovered and wants to go to a long-term care community but isn’t boosted and has to test, we’re told from the Department of Public Health that once someone has recovered, they will not test positive with the rapid test,” said Painter.
Matt Barrett is the President and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and believes these small steps could help vulnerable populations.
“It’s one of the regrettable tragedies of this pandemic that visitors are unknowingly and unwillingly contributing to the spread of this virus,” said Barrett. “We do need to take measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.”
Nursing homes cannot deny entry to visitors who are willing to take a rapid antigen test, but are unable to because the facility doesn’t provide them with the test.
The Department of Public Health will distribute 50,000 rapid antigen tests to nursing homes around the state beginning Friday. Those tests are to be used exclusively for the new visitor requirements, according to the governor’s office.