Gov. Ted Lamont

Connecticut’s long-term care workers have until Sept. 7 to get  their first COVID-19 dose, or their communities will face a $20,000 per day civil penalty, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday.

Lamont issued an executive order mandating COVID-19 staff vaccination at assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities “to protect some of the most vulnerable residents of Connecticut.” He said the order comes amid rising coronavirus cases in those facilities.

“Now that vaccines are widely available and scientifically proven to be safe and the most effective method for prevention hospitalization and death, it would be absolutely irresponsible for anyone working in a long-term care facility to not receive this protection that could prevent widespread infection among those who are most vulnerable from dying of this communicable disease; some of whom for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated themselves,” Lamont said in a statement

The state’s senior living associations said they support the vaccination mandate policy.

“When implemented on a wide scale, the staff vaccine mandate will provide maximum protection for all residents, staff and others in our communities from the known and substantial risks of COVID-19,” Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities / Connecticut Center for Assisted Living, told McKnight’s Senior Living.

In July, CAHCF / CCAL issued a position statement “strongly urging” the vaccination of all healthcare personnel and its support for providers who adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. 

LeadingAge Connecticut President Mag Morelli told McKnight’s Senior Living that the association will work with the state Department of Public Health to implement the order and help its member communities comply.

“LeadingAge Connecticut supports the governor’s announcement and are encouraged that the mandate encompasses a wide sector of provider sites,” Morelli said. “As the most effective tool to protect vulnerable older adults from the virus, we have been encouraging and working toward the widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccination for all staff in healthcare, senior care and senior living communities.”