Report by Paula Antolini, October 13, 2021, 5:00PM EDT
The Connecticut Department of Social Services and Connecticut Department of Public Health are applauding a new online tool developed by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that makes it easier to check COVID-19 vaccination rates of nursing home staff and residents.
“This excellent addition to the CMS website enables the public to check on vaccination rates at individual nursing homes in Connecticut and other states,” Connecticut Social Services Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford said. “As our federal partners note, this will help people make informed decisions when choosing a nursing home for themselves or a loved one.”
Commissioner Gifford added that Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes have been required to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for both residents and staff since May.
“CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuing to use these data to monitor vaccine uptake among residents and staff and to identify facilities that may need additional resources or assistance to respond to the pandemic,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said. “We commend CMS for empowering nursing home residents and their families and caregivers with the information they need when choosing care providers. This tool gives people a new tool to visualize these data to help them make informed decisions.”
Commissioner Gifford and Commissioner Juthani have joined Governor Lamont in calling on nursing home staff to get vaccinated to protect their residents, co-workers and their own families. Vaccination remains the most important defense against illness and in helping stop the spread of the Delta variant.
The most recent CMS data show that the average vaccination rate for Connecticut nursing home staff is 84.7%. Meanwhile, the national percentage of vaccinated nursing staff is only 67.1%.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus. Residents can also subscribe to text message alerts from the state by texting the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance. Anyone who is out-of-state or requires a toll-free number can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 by dialing 1-800-203-1234. This is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms are strongly urged to contact their medical provider.