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Lamont's plan for COVID-19 nursing homes draws criticism

Lamont's plan for COVID-19 nursing homes draws criticism



HARTFORD (AP) — A plan to designate certain nursing homes in Connecticut for only residents diagnosed with COVID-19 has drawn sharp criticism from least one nursing home CEO and family members who said the order took some facilities by surprise, creating an “uproar.”

In a letter sent to residents’ families and staff at Manchester Manor and Vernon Manor and Arbors of Hop Brook in Manchester, CEO Paul Liistro said Gov. Ned Lamont released the details of a plan that was being worked out with the industry, including the affected facilities, before the facilities could properly notify residents, family members and staff.

“The community uproar is deafening. Before the logic and the plans for transition could occur, the confidentiality was breached and, now, execution is impossible,” Liistro wrote in the letter Thursday.

Patricia Hastings, whose 91-year-old mother lives at Vernon Manor, said Liistro’s letter raised several red flags for her.

No one has tested positive at Vernon Manor, and it was not among the nursing homes on the list released by Lamont, a Democrat.

“Why would you even want to disturb these people who are basically safe as this moment that we know of and create potential for a cross contamination?” she asked. “Now you’re going to move people who are elderly – some have Alzheimer’s, some have dementia – and you’re going to uproot them from the home they have? I don’t think they should be doing that to senior citizens. It’s disorienting.”

Max Reiss, the governor’s spokesman, said the administration is still considering the proposal, which also included reopening closed nursing homes to free up more space as well.

“We’re still reviewing the possibility of COVID-19 exclusive homes but we want that to be a discussion with our partners who operate long-term care facilities and skilled nursing homes,” he said. When asked about the timing of the plan’s release, Reiss said the administration is “trying to get it done as soon as possible.”

In other developments related to the outbreak:

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ACLU FILES LAWSUIT

A lawsuit filed Friday seeks an emergency order that would force the state to release prisoners deemed to be at the most risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut acted on behalf of four inmates and the the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

It seeks the release of those with compromised immune systems and other health conditions; those being held pretrial on minor charges or low bonds; people being held for a technical violation of probation or parole; anyone eligible for home confinement or supervised release; and inmates who are within six months of the end of their sentence.

The plaintiffs include one inmate with an autoimmune condition, one who is over age 60, one who is scheduled for release next month, and one who is being held in lieu of a $5,000 bond and has only one lung.

The Department of Correction has confirmed infections in eight prisoners and 16 staff members in the state’s prisons. Officials there did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

As of Thursday more than 100 Connecticut resident had died from COVID-19. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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COURT VISITS

The Judicial Branch is allowing for remote filing of temporary restraining orders to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in courthouses.

The change was authorized in an executive order Thursday by Gov. Ned Lamont. It temporarily eliminates the requirement that applicants must swear under oath that the statement they are giving in seeking the order is true.

Judicial officials also conducting probation appointments by phone, but said probation offices are staffed and are still responding to behavior that violates the terms of an offender’s probation.


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