Prison Workers Top List Of Those Not Complying With Mandate

Employees in the state's prison system make up more than 32% of state workers who have failed to comply with Gov. Ned Lamont's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to figures released Friday by the governor's office.

Of Connecticut's 30,623 state workers 1,482 — about 5% — have not been vaccinated or submitted to weekly COVID-19 testing as required by the mandate, according to the report. Those include 483 workers at the state Department of Correction, which has about 5,400 employees.

The governor’s office had given workers until Oct. 4 to comply with the order. But the state has so far fired just 22 workers and placed an additional 29 on unpaid leave. Officials are in the process of suspending or terminating an additional 70 workers, the governor's office said.

“The majority of employees who are currently out of compliance are working with the state to come into compliance and anticipate coming into compliance in the coming days,” Lamont spokesperson David Bednarz said.

Messages seeking comment also were left with the Department of Correction and the union that represents state correction officers.

The department confirmed Friday that it has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in several prisons, including the Hartford Correctional Center, the New Haven Correctional Center and the Carl Robinson Correctional Center.

Spokesperson Andrius Banevicius said most of those are asymptomatic cases among inmates.

There are currently 72 inmates and 56 staff members being treated for symptoms associated with the coronavirus, according to the department's website.

The largest outbreak was reported at Hartford Correctional, where 69 inmates have recently tested positive, including 11 who are being treated at the system's MacDougall-Walker Medical Isolation Unit and another who was transferred to an outside hospital, Banevisius said.

The Department has suspended in-person social visits at the Hartford facility as a result and are relying instead on virtual visits, he said.