NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The state is calling on nursing homes for help as COVID cases continue to crush hospitals and staff.
Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order Friday, similar to the one he enacted at the start of the pandemic. In effect until at least Feb. 15, the state can now waive certain rules for healthcare facilities in order to increase bed capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Lamont is asking short and long-term care facilities to take in COVID-positive patients if they can. It is not a requirement to take these patients in.
With that being said, News 8 spoke to a few nursing homes who are spread thin already, saying staffing is the main issue.
The video below is from a previous newscast
“What they’re going to find is that this program is not going to work because we don’t have staff,” said Paul Liistro, chief executive officer of Manchester Manor and Vernon Manor. “What’s going to happen is that we’re gonna get tattletaled by the hospitals because that’s what they’re supposed to do. Vernon Manor denied a patient and they’re going to tell DPH, DPH is going to then call us up and say ‘why did you deny the patient’ and and we’re gonna say ‘we didn’t have staff,’ and they’re gonna hear that over and over and over again.“
Cases continue to climb within nursing homes as hospitals fill at an alarming rate.
On Thursday, State Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford also reported the newest number of COVID cases among nursing home staff doubled in a week, from 700 to 1,400. Resident cases tripled from 200 to 600.
“Our primary concern is keeping everyone within our campus safe from this virus,” said David Hunter with Mary Wade Nursing Home.
Nursing homes will now have to consider a number of factors when taking on the responsibility of caring for a patient recovering from COVID.
“Do we have the space to isolate? Do we have the staff to provide the staffing, the care for an isolated individual,” Hunter said.
If a nursing home facility cannot care for a COVID positive patient, the Department of Public Health will ask them to explain why.
A spokesperson for the governor told News 8:
“…The purpose of this is to help DPH understand the constraints on the system which could lead to potential other actions, like the opening of recovery centers.”
News 8 was told some nursing homes are already planning on creating isolation rooms within their facilities. Some staff will also be asked to work 12 hours instead of eight if the facility takes patients as they recover from COVID-19.