Nursing Homes Fined For Not Testing Workers For Virus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC and AP) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health has fined two nursing homes for failing to test dozens of employees for the coronavirus.

Avery Nursing Home in Hartford and Hamden Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Hamden were both fined $1,140, acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford announced Thursday. An executive order signed by Gov. Ned Lamont in June requires weekly testing of nursing home staff until no employees or residents test positive for the virus.

Inspectors said Avery Nursing Home did not test 37 employees including nurses and dietary staff in late July and early August. Avery officials told inspectors that they have since made testing mandatory.

The home's nursing director told inspectors that not all staff had been tested at the time because some were on vacation or did not attend the scheduled testing. and an administrator whose approval was needed to make the testing mandatory was on vacation.

The Hamden nursing home failed to test 39 staff members during the same time period, according to the Public Health Department.

An administrator at the home told inspectors that many employees were not available to come in on assigned testing days and that staff could not prohibit staff members who were not tested from working because there wouldn't be enough employees to care for residents.

Gifford said testing is vital to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes. Nearly 2,850 nursing home residents in the state have died from COVID-19, representing about 64% of all state deaths from the virus.