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Gov. Lamont: CT Dept. of Public Health Announces New COVID-19 Guidelines for Visitation at Long-Term Care Facilities in Response to Federal Directive

Report by Paula Antolini, September 28, 2020, 4:55PM EDT

Following a newly issued directive from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Connecticut Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford has signed an order rescinding previously issued orders limiting visitation at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, that were issued to protect the health of nursing home residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Public Health has issued new COVID-19 guidelines for visitation, and today’s action means that long-term care facilities in Connecticut are permitted to resume indoor visitation effective immediately, provided that certain conditions are met.

“Making the decision to limit in-person visits at nursing homes is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as governor, but amid the outbreak of this pandemic that is impacting the lives of so many people in our senior population, I knew it was the right thing to do,” Governor Lamont said. “Each facility is strongly urged to develop a visitation plan and strictly adhere to it to the greatest extent possible so that we can keep this virus from spreading and impacting our most vulnerable patients.”

“With this new guidance from the federal government, indoor visitation is now allowed in nursing homes under specific conditions,” Commissioner Gifford said. “I urge nursing homes to work closely with family members to arrange for the type of visitation that is most appropriate for each resident’s physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. There will be protocols in place to make sure the visitation is as safe as possible, including personal protective equipment to limit the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable population.”

Nursing homes may open for indoor visitation under certain conditions, including that there has been no new onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and the facility is not currently conducting outbreak testing. Indoor visitation will be suspended if there is a positive COVID case among staff or residents.

In addition, facilities and visitors must adhere to the core principles of infection control:

  • Screening for all who enter the facility;
  • Hand hygiene recommendations;
  • Personal protection equipment as applicable;
  • Social distancing requirements;
  • Instructional signage throughout the facility;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces in the facility;
  • Effective cohorting of residents as applicable;
  • Visitors should be able to adhere to the core principles and staff should provide monitoring for those who may have difficulty adhering to core principles;
  • Facilities should limit the number of visitors per patient at one time and limit the total number of visitors in the facility one at a time (based on the size of the building and physical space). Facilities should consider scheduling visits for a specified length of time to help ensure all patients are able to receive visitors; and
  • Facilities should limit movement in the facility. For example, visitors should not walk around different halls of the facility. Rather, they should go directly to the patient’s room or designated visitation area.

The new visitation requirements also expand entry for health care workers and providers of other services whose access may have been previously restricted, such as social workers, clergy, hairdressers, and volunteers, as long as such individuals are not otherwise excluded from working due to an exposure to COVID-19 and comply with the core principles of infection Control.

The Department of Public Health also urges each chronic disease hospitals in the state not covered in the CMS guidance to develop a visitation plan for patients that includes the same core principles as long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All in-person visits should be planned with the chronic disease hospital in collaboration with the patient’s family or conservator with guidelines for infection control and safety as part of the chronic disease hospital’s visitation policy.

State begins distributing 600,000 face masks to Connecticut school districts

The Connecticut State Department of Education, with the assistance of the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Connecticut National Guard, today began distributing 600,000 face masks to school districts across the state. Connecticut has received the first of two deliveries of cloth face masks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The first delivery consisted of adult-sized masks that will be delivered to Grades 7-12. It is anticipated that a second delivery will arrive soon containing child-sized masks.

These masks have been allocated using the same methodology that FEMA applied to the national allocation, which was based on free and reduced-priced lunches. DEMHS communicated with local emergency management directors to assist with their local district’s pickup and distribution. For information on how the masks are being distributed, click here.

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Governor Lamont Provides Update on Connecticut’s Coronavirus Response Efforts

Latest Data as of 4:00PM on Monday, September 28, 2020

(HARTFORD, CT) – As the State of Connecticut continues taking actions in response to the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Governor Ned Lamont provided the following updates as of 4:00 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2020:

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

The following is a summary of the day-to-day newly reported data on cases, deaths, and tests in Connecticut. It is important to note that these newly reported updates include data that occurred over the last several days to a week. All data in this report are preliminary, and data for previous dates will be updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected.

Overall SummaryStatewide Total
(includes confirmed and probable cases)
Change Since Friday
COVID-19 Cases57,147+560
COVID-19-Associated Deaths4,503+2
Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-1975-1
COVID-19 PCR Tests Reported1,568,802+52,022

For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”

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