NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on Congress to approve the “Nursing Home Protection and Prevention Act”: billions of dollars in emergency funding for long-term care facilities. 

Senator Blumenthal said Wednesday outside Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center in New Haven, “It will provide $20 billion for nursing homes and similar facilities across the country. $20 billion in emergency aid that is desperately needed by these kinds of facilities for testing, staffing, PPE, all of the essential elements they need to care for patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities.”

Sen. Blumenthal told News 8 the federal government has an obligation to supply nursing homes with personal protective equipment. He said, “$20 billion is a down payment on what we owe these facilities.”

Governor Ned Lamont said nursing homes should be able to provide their own PPE. 

“We backstopped the nursing homes; we backed stopped small businesses; do whatever we can. First and foremost priorities for the nursing homes is to be responsible for the PPE,” said Governor Lamont. 

Sen. Blumenthal added, “Regardless of whether it’s a red state or a blue state. No matter who the governor is the federal government has a responsibility for senior care whether it’s in a nursing home or assisted living facilities.”

Mag Morelli, the President of Leading Age Connecticut, told News 8, “The pandemic is not over. We continue to need to replenish our PPE.” 

The senator said nursing homes in the state were hit the hardest by COVID-19.

“There were close to 28-hundred deaths. That’s almost 70% of all the deaths from COVID-19 in Connecticut,” added Blumenthal. 

Karen Chatterton is an administrator with Riverside Health & Rehabilitation Center. She said it has been an emotional time at Riverside. Two long-time employees died and 89 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. 

“It’s been difficult. We have lost two of our staff that have worked with us for many years: 30 and 15,” she added. 

Senator Blumenthal said, “They are people who have fought in our wars, raised our families, policed our streets, fought fires; the people who live in these facilities deserve the very best care.”