HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — More than 99% of affected Connecticut state employees are complying with an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday.
Out of the 32,000 workers at executive branch agencies, 28 probationary employees who failed to comply have been dismissed and 20 more veteran staff members have been placed on unpaid leave so far. Those veteran workers have up to 45 days to comply with the order or face termination.
“Talking to my fellow governors, people are pretty impressed that we’ve got probably 99% compliance among certain state employees," said Lamont, who noted there were thousands of state workers who were not in compliance with his mandate at the beginning of October.
Josh Geballe, Lamont's chief operating officer, acknowledged the administration has initially been providing “significant grace periods.” That's to make sure people who got vaccinated at the last minute, or those who are unvaccinated and didn't upload their weekly testing results in time to meet the Sunday night deadline, are counted as being in compliance. But he warned that won't last forever.
“At some point, people need to be able to comply with the process without a lot of push from our HR teams,” he said. “And if people are exploiting it, then they’ll go into the discipline process.”
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Connecticut has decreased by 31.1, a decline of 6.5%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 has increased by 15 since Friday to 247, according to state data.
In other coronavirus-related news:
Electric utility customers in the state will soon be receiving a robocall to raise awareness about available financial help to people who have unpaid and overdue electric bills.
Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said in a statement Monday that the calls will be made Tuesday, in both English and Spanish. The funding is part of the state's UniteCT program, which has provided financial help to renters impacted by the pandemic.
“It’s been a tough 18 months, and these calls will let people know that UniteCT is here to help with their past-due electric bills,” Lamont said. "If you are or know of a household that has fallen behind on rent or electric utility payments, do not hesitate to go to the UniteCT website and apply for assistance.”
The program will help households who are in arrears dating back to April 2020.