Over the weekend, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued a new Executive Order 7C, which has significant implications for facilities in Connecticut that provide mental health treatment amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

First, the Governor authorized the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, respectively, to issue any and all orders to restrict entrance into any inpatient or outpatient hospital, clinic or other facility for the diagnosis, observation or treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities (defined to include any children or adults suffering from mental disorders), that the Commissioners deem necessary to protect the health and welfare of patients, residents, and staff of such facilities.

Second, the Governor amended the state law addressing when otherwise confidential psychiatrist-patient communications may be disclosed (Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-146f) to provide that the Commissioner of Public Health and Local Health Directors are permitted to disclose psychiatrist-patient communications or records to report cases of COVID-19 as necessary to limit the further spread of COVID-19 or respond to the emergency situation.