Citing a nearly 700% increase in confirmed nursing home cases over a three-week period from mid-December 2021 through January 4th, Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order (EO) Wednesday evening requiring nursing home visitors and primary and secondary essential support persons show proof of being fully vaccinated with booster shot or a negative COVID-19 test before being able to enter a nursing facility.
The EO cautioned that the highly contagious nature of the omicron variant – spreading more easily and quicker than other COVID-19 variants – has caused a rapid increase in cases nationally and in Connecticut. “Given the greater transmissibility of the omicron variant,” the EO states, “the risk of outbreaks in nursing homes is of significant concern given the medical vulnerability of residents in such settings.” Almost three-quarters of residents in Connecticut’s nursing homes have received the booster vaccine as of January 9th.
Last week, the Center for Medicare Advocacy reported on the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the nation, with Connecticut’s Department of Public Health recording a 24% positivity rate.
Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99.5% of the counties in the nation are experiencing the highest level of community transmission of COVID-19, including every county in Connecticut.
“With the new variant increasing the number of cases in long-term care and the greater community,” Connecticut State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter told the Center, “I was concerned visitation guidance would again be restricted and residents would face isolation.”
Painter added, “The Executive Order, released by Governor Lamont, takes a more balanced approach that allows for visitation, reduces the risk of isolation, and provides an increased level of infection prevention.”
The EO guidance for nursing home visitors or essential support persons is as follows:
- Individuals must provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if eligible under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster; or
- Provide paper or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either (1) a rapid antigen test completed within the previous 48 hours; or (2) a PCR test completed within the previous 72 hours; or
- Take a rapid antigen test at the nursing home in a form and manner directed by the Department of Public Health.
The EO also stated nursing homes in possession of rapid antigen tests that were not otherwise designated for use by the facility should make the tests available to visitors who are not able to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test.
To help ensure visitors or essential support persons can visit residents under the new EO requirements, Painter recommended, “If individuals feel there is a barrier to accessing their loved one, they can call the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 1-866-388-1888. We’ll work to resolve the concern.”
January 20, 2022 – C. St. John
 State of Connecticut. Executive Order No. 14F. Protection of Public Health and Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic – Proof of Vaccination Booster or Testing for Nursing Visitors and Primary and Secondary Essential Support Persons. (January 19, 2022). Available at: https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-14F.pdf
 CDC. COVID Data Tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (January 19, 2022). Available at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=Connecticut&data-type=Risk&list_select_county=9005