Stefanowski and Fired Public Well being Chief Accuse Lamont of Mismanagement

Stefanowski and Fired Public Well being Chief Accuse Lamont of Mismanagement

Former Public Well being Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchel and Bob Stefanowski Credit score: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

HARTFORD, CT — In a closing shot at Gov. Ned Lamont’s dealing with of COVID-19, Republican Bob Stefanowski stood Thursday with fired Public Well being Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell and accused the governor of endangering nursing dwelling residents throughout the pandemic. 

Stefanowski’s morning press occasion exterior the state Capitol constructing comes simply 4 days earlier than voters head to the polls and picks up on some extent of competition uncovered throughout a gubernatorial debate on Tuesday evening, when the Republican challenger claimed the governor despatched contaminated COVID sufferers into nursing houses thereby exposing a weak inhabitants to the virus. 

Lamont has rejected the declare, arguing that COVID-positive hospital sufferers needing a step down facility have been both despatched to separate, empty nursing houses or segregated wings of operational nursing houses. 

Nevertheless, Stefanowski alleged Tuesday that he had caught the governor in a lie and resumed that argument Thursday. He stated Lamont was fast to take credit score for a reliable response to the COVID pandemic.

“Inform that to the individuals who had dad and mom in nursing houses that have been sitting subsequent to a COVID contaminated affected person that died,” Stefanowski stated. “There was no rulebook for COVID. I get it. It was a once-in-hopefully-history. I get it. However the governor must step up and say he made a mistake. The individuals who misplaced family members deserve it and he’s bought to cease mendacity about it.”

For a lot of this 12 months’s marketing campaign cycle, Stefanowski spent comparatively little time attacking Lamont’s COVID-era management. Public opinion of the first-term Democrat, which had tanked after his unsuccessful try and undertake tolls on Connecticut highways, largely rebounded following his dealing with of the general public well being disaster. 

However because the Madison Republican trails by double digits in public polling within the final hours of the marketing campaign, Stefanowski has more and more cited statistics associated to the state’s nursing dwelling casualties throughout the pandemic. Between March and July of 2020, 2,849 folks died of COVID-19 in Connecticut nursing houses. 

Stefanowski stated he would have higher deliberate for the pandemic and made preparations to deal with COVID-postive sufferers at amenities apart from nursing houses. 

To assist him make that time Thursday, he appeared with Coleman-Mitchell, Lamont’s first public well being commissioner, who he fired within the early days of the pandemic. Coleman-Mitchell was seated with Stefanowski supporters throughout this week’s debate and has appeared not too long ago on conservative radio reveals. She instructed reporters that her recommendation went unheeded previous to her firing.

Nevertheless, the occasion shortly veered from allegations that Lamont had erred by permitting nursing houses to simply accept COVID constructive resident to claims the Lamont administration had engaged in discrimination by dismissing Coleman-Mitchell, who has since filed a federal lawsuit to that impact. As of Thursday, Coleman-Mitchell and the state have been unable to succeed in a settlement settlement within the case.

“His dealing with of COVID-19 was to exchange his hand-selected high public well being official with a male with no public well being expertise or apply to steer the pandemic response?” Coleman-Mitchell stated. “What does that say to the individuals who have misplaced their family members? Does that say now we have completed an incredible job? What a part of COVID-19 was really profitable if you have a look at the variety of deaths?”

Quickly after Coleman-Mitchell’s departure, Lamont named Dr. Deidre Gifford, his social companies commissioner, as a short lived substitute and ultimately nominated Dr. Manish Juthani, an infectious illness doctor at Yale, to the publish.    

Stefanowski invited one other speaker, Luis Ortiz, to debate his complaints about racism inside the Division of Transportation, which he stated had fallen on deaf ears.

“Each voter must make up their thoughts concerning the character of the following governor,” Stefanowski stated. “I’m simply declaring the info. We’ve bought two folks standing behind me that suppose it’s a difficulty.”

Sen. Saud Anwar talks to reporters whereas Bob Stefanowski watches Credit score: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Democrats reacted shortly to the occasion, firing off a press launch condemning Stefanowski’s “misinformation tour” and dispatching Saud Anwar, a state senator and pulmonologist from South Windsor, to rebut the Republicans feedback associated to nursing houses. Anwar stated it was crucial to maneuver COVID-positive sufferers out of hospitals as they have been recovering. 

“If everyone was recovering within the in-patient setting, we’d have had no room to maintain the folks within the emergency departments coming left and proper with low oxygen ranges,” Anwar stated. “These sufferers needed to be transferred to COVID restoration amenities. That was frequent sense, that was what was advisable and that was what was completed.”

In the meantime, the state Public Well being Division issued a press release saying the company had adopted Facilities for Illness Management steerage and suggested nursing houses to maintain COVID constructive sufferers remoted from different residents. The state additionally stood up COVID restoration amenities for sufferers that wanted care after leaving the hospital, DPH spokesman Christopher Boyle stated.

“Covid Restoration Amenities additionally accepted COVID constructive residents from nursing houses when cohorting was too troublesome for a facility to do successfully,” Boyle stated. “Covid Restoration Amenities have been stood up both in empty nursing houses or in chosen nursing houses with total vacant wings.”