Report: 89% Of Conn. Long-Term Care Workers Fully Vaccinated

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Data released Friday show 89% of the more than 61,000 long-term care workers in Connecticut required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 under Gov. Ned Lamont's executive order were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 8.

The Department of Public Health said 7% of those employees subject to the Democrat's mandate are partially vaccinated. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the state reported 2,851 workers as unvaccinated because they had medical or religious exemptions or they were unvaccinated for other reasons.

The agency said it plans to follow up with individual facilities to make sure they're fully complying with the governor's mandate. Under the order, the facilities are not allowed to employ workers who are not fully or partially vaccinated or do not have medical or religious exemptions from vaccinations.

Meanwhile, DPH said 167 long-term care facilities had not yet complied with the state's reporting requirements under Lamont's order as of Oct. 8 and could be subject to civil penalties of up to $20,000 per day. The agency said it plans to start issuing notices to the facilities next week about the fines.

Dr. Manisha Juthani, the state's public health commissioner, commended the long-term care facilities for “achieving such high vaccination rates." She encouraged people to use a new online tool developed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to track COVID-19 vaccination rates for nursing home staff and residents.

Matt Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities/Connecticut Center for Assisted Living, said nursing homes will continue to work toward the goal of having 100% of workers vaccinated. But in the meantime, he said in a written statement that “nursing homes can keep residents protected when small numbers of staff are not vaccinated with more aggressive COVID-19 testing and enhanced infection prevention and control measures.”

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The state Department of Public Health said Friday that depending on final federal approval, the administration of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots could begin as soon as Oct. 22.

“The Connecticut Department of Public Health will continue to work with our federal partners, vaccine providers, and other stakeholders to be sure we are ready to provide the Moderna and J&J boosters when these recommendations are finalized,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency said it is working with hundreds of vaccine providers across Connecticut on the booster rollout, including hospitals and health system, federally qualified health centers, doctors, local health departments and pharmacies. DPH said there's more than enough vaccine doses available.

As of Friday, there were 232 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut. There have been more than 8,700 deaths from COVID-19 in the state.