An association representing Connecticut home care agencies asked Governor Ned Lamont (D) Tuesday to extend a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for long-term care workers to home care workers in an effort to protect patients.
“The patients and clients in the community are very vulnerable just as they are in a long-term care setting,” Tracy Wodatch, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily. “They’re maybe a little safer because they are more spread out, but our staff are going from home to home, from facilities to home. The risk is there,”
Lamont signed an executive order late last month requiring staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities get their first COVID-19 vaccinations by September 7. Last Friday, the governor pushed the date back to September 27. Wodatch said she has been fielding calls from members who are not only concerned about juggling vaccinated and unvaccinated staff, but also about sending unvaccinated workers into the homes of sick patients.
While many states are requiring healthcare workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities to be vaccinated, only about a half dozen states require them for home care and home healthcare agencies. Among them are New York, Maine and Oregon.
Wodatch said not extending the vaccine mandate in Connecticut could result in a flood of unvaccinated long-term care workers seeking jobs at home care agencies.
“That will impact our vaccination rate if agencies are willing to hire them. That is one of my talking points to the governor,” Wodatch said.