When Tanya Beckford was infected with COVID-19 while working at an assisted-living facility in Newington earlier this year, she told her children her last wishes. She did not know that people could survive the virus.
Months later, she is alive — but ravaged by the physical effects of COVID-19 and the psychological toll of pushing through death, grief and exhaustion to work 80-hour weeks as a certified nursing assistant at the Newington Rapid Recovery Rehab Center. Today, Connecticut health care workers remain woefully unprotected against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she told a joint listening session of the state legislature’s appropriations, public health and human services committees Wednesday.
“I’ve been out of work since April and I’m still not strong enough to get back into the facility,” Beckford said. “And it’s kind of good for me at this point because I’m still very emotional. I had 10 residents at the time and seven of them died before I even got sick.”
Lawmakers convened the listening session to determine whether there are specific legislative solutions for the issues that plagued nursing homes struggling to stem widespread COVID-19 infections this past spring. Such items might not be part of an upcoming special session this fall, they said, but could appear in next year’s regular session.