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Health Care Workers Given Until Friday to Get Fingerprinted | Connecticut News | US News

By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

The schedule for state-mandated fingerprinting has been expanded to Friday to accommodate roughly 630 health care workers at long-term care facilities and other entities hired during the pandemic who still need to be fingerprinted for required criminal history checks.

The Department of Public Health said expanded and extended schedules for fingerprinting services will be provided at Connecticut State Police Barracks A, G, H and I through Friday. Appointments are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Troops B, C, D, E, F, K and L will continue to fingerprint people on a walk-in basis between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Health care workers across the state who were hired during the coronavirus pandemic have faced termination if they didn’t meet a July 20 deadline to get fingerprinted for state-mandated background checks. An estimated 7,500 people were hired between March 23, 2020 and May 19, 2021 when Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order suspending the required fingerprint checks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Workers hired under the executive order who were not fingerprinted by Tuesday’s deadline are not eligible to work in direct-access positions, DPH said in a statement. The employees can return to direct access positions immediately after being fingerprinted, while they await the results.

District 1199 New England, SEIU, the union that represents nursing home workers, recently called on state officials to “provide leniency” to the employees and postpone the deadline until Sept. 20. Rob Baril, the union’s president, noted that the workers have already passed a background check and other verification processes, but were specifically told not to submit fingerprints because of the pandemic.

He warned that terminating the employees would negatively impact the care in nursing homes, which have been facing staffing shortages. Some workers have said it’s been difficult to get fingerprinted given the backlog of people and their inability to get to the State Police barracks.

In other coronavirus-related news:

Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday while he’s aware of the increasing COVID-19 positivity rate in Connecticut, he has no plans at this point to change the state’s rules for face masks. Currently, people who are unvaccinated are still required to wear masks indoors while vaccinated and unvaccinated people still must wear them in certain settings, including healthcare facilities, public transit and schools.

“We’re still sending many, many fewer folks to hospitals than we certainly were just six months ago. We’ve had 2,000. Now we’ve got probably 55 in the hospital. That’s really key,” the Democrat said.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 101, an increase of 202% in Connecticut, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. Data released Wednesday by the state show there were 228 new confirmed or probable cases reported since Tuesday. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by four to 58.

“Ninety-nine-plus percent of the folks who go into the hospital and suffer complications are unvaccinated,” Lamont said. “It’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Lamont said a decision has still not been made regarding mask wearing for the upcoming school year. He said his administration is currently in discussions with school superintendents, parents and teachers.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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