Connecticut Will Send COVID Patients to Nursing Homes Despite Previous Orders Killing 50,000 Elderly People

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2022   |   11:46AM   |   Washington, DC

The state of Connecticut has issued a new order putting COVID patients in nursing homes as hospitals see overcrowding thanks to the latest COVID variant.

The state will issue the order despite Democrat governors in multiple states like New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey forcing nursing homes early in the COVID pandemic to take COVID patients — decisions that resulted in as many as 50,000 elderly people dying as COVID spread in their facilities.

The spread of COVID in nursing homes in New York was so bad after Andrew Cuomo issued his order that 15,000 or more nursing home residents died, a number that he covered up and that some officials believe is higher.

Connecticut will ask nursing homes take COVID patients regardless of their status, meaning COVID-positive patients will be sent to the facilities with at-risk residents.

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Nursing homes are being asked to accept COVID-positive admissions from hospitals, according to a new guidance from the Department of Public Health, even as positivity rates within nursing homes are increasing sharply.

The latest guidance from the DPH is an indication that the state is trying to alleviate the growing crush of COVID-19 cases in hospitals as they near record numbers of patients.

“Until Thursday, the health department required any patient transferred from a hospital to a long-term care facility to have a negative COVID test performed in the hospital within 48 hours of their transfer, but that requirement is now waived.

“Vaccination status of an individual should not influence decisions about hospital discharge or PAC admission,” according to the DPH.

The guidance puts significant pressure on nursing homes that are already facing severe staffing challenges and testing limitations, providers said.

“Hospitalized patients should be discharged from acute care whenever clinically indicated, regardless of COVID-19 status,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani wrote in the two-page memo.

But nursing home officials are balking at the move and they say they should have the right to refuse people who test positive for COVID.

Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said nursing homes should still be able to decide whether to accept COVID-positive people from hospitals under the guidance.

“Our initial reading based on the memo released today is that nothing in the memo undermines the nursing home’s appropriate authority to refuse an admission due to their ability to meet the care needs of the resident because of staffing shortages, and COVID status may be a factor in that assessment,” Barrett said.

The move comes just days after news came out that disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not face any state charges associated with his executive order that resulted in the deaths of as many as 15,000 nursing home residents.