“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,” the Democrat governor said in a statement, announcing he signed an executive order (pdf) that applies to all nursing facilities in the state. “This is one more precaution we can implement at these facilities to keep them safe.”
Now, visitors have to show they have received a COVID-19 vaccine or “if eligible, under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster,” his office said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration.
Or, they will have to provide either electronic or paper proof of a negative COVID-19 test, according to his office. A rapid antigen result must have been carried out within the previous 48 hours, or if one took a PCR test, 72 hours.
Visitors can also take a rapid antigen test to see if they’re positive for COVID-19 at the nursing home, the office said. His order went into effect on Saturday, Jan. 22.
“The order requires nursing homes to deny entrance to any visitor that tests positive for COVID-19 or who refuses to take a rapid antigen test,” Lamont’s office said. “The order further provides, according to guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, that a nursing home cannot deny entrance to any visitor who is willing to take a rapid antigen test but is unable to do so because the nursing home is not able to provide a rapid antigen test.”
The state will also distribute tens of thousands of rapid antigen tests to nursing homes in Connecticut.
“We don’t know how long this will go for, we anticipate that it will be a while, so we need to make sure we are prepared for it,” J.P. Venoit, CEO of Masonicare, told local media outlets. “If someone refuses to take an antigen test and doesn’t have a proof of vaccine, we can’t let them into visit.”
The latest COVID-19-related directive came as Connecticut nursing homes were recently asked by the state to accept COVID-19-positive admissions from hospitals, according to guidance from the Department of Public Health.
“Hospitalized patients should be discharged from acute care whenever clinically indicated, regardless of COVID-19 status,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani wrote in the two-page memo.
“Discharge should not be held due to a pending SARS-CoV-2 test, as receiving PAC (post-acute care) providers should now have quarantine policies in place based on COVID-19 vaccination status,” Juthani wrote, referring to another name for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes the disease COVID-19. “PAC providers should be equipped to safely care for individuals with active COVID-19 who are ready for discharge from acute care.”