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Connecticut GOP continue to criticize Lamont’s COVID-19 policies

State Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, during opening session at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Hartford, Conn.
Jessica Hill
Associated Press
Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford

Connecticut Republicans continue to criticize Governor Ned Lamont’s COVID-19 policies. They said his order to have nursing homes accept infected patients might lead to problems — much like what happened with a similar policy in New York under Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Admitting recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes would help free up hospital beds, Lamont said. To that end he’s issued an executive order mandating all nursing home nurses to have COVID-19 booster shots by February 11.

“That will open up capacity at the hospitals, make it easier for us to transfer people from the hospitals to the nursing homes,” he said.

The Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, a group of nursing home owners, supports Lamont’s order. It allows nursing homes to refuse admission if they lack the personnel to cope, said Matthew Barrett, the association’s president and CEO.

“We don’t view the memo in any way shape or form undermining that clear authority,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly opposes the policy. Putting seniors with the virus into nursing homes is not safe for other residents, he said. It could lead to an increase in nursing home deaths, much like what happened in New York in 2020, he said.

A March 2020 order from Cuomo required nursing homes to readmit patients who were released from the hospital after COVID-19 treatment. New York’s record number of nursing home deaths was the subject of a federal investigation.

“My prayers are with the nursing home residents that nothing comes of this and we get through this without the scourge of what happened in 2020,” said Kelly.

It's another reason why Republicans will not support an extension of Governor Lamont’s emergency COVID-19 powers when they expire in mid-February, he said.

Lamont has said that he is negotiating with Democratic legislative leaders an extension of some of those powers.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.