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COVID-19 care centers reopening amid nursing home outbreaks
Nov 20

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut is reopening health care centers dedicated solely to treating COVID-19 patients amid a resurgence of the coronavirus across the state, including in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, a state Department of Public Health spokesperson said Friday.

A coronavirus ``recovery center'' in Meriden reopened last week to serve up to 30 patients and there are now plans to reopen one in Torrington with another 30 beds in the near future, department spokesperson Av Harris said. The two facilities were among several around the state that opened earlier in the pandemic but later closed as virus rates dropped over the summer.

The reopenings come as Connecticut was poised Friday to surpass 100,000 positive coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.

Two other centers in East Hartford and Wallingford have remained open during the pandemic. They're designed to treat COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital before they return to nursing homes and other locations.

``This helps those nursing homes manage their COVID-19 outbreaks through infection control measures such as cohorting their residents appropriately and offering maximum protection to those residents who are COVID negative,'' Harris said in an email to The Associated Press.

Harris also said the centers help free up hospital beds by caring for patients who no longer need acute care. He added that Connecticut hospitals currently have adequate space to treat COVID-19 patients.

The facility in Meriden, at the former Westfield Care and Rehabilitation Center, had already exceeded its initial capacity of 30 by one patient on Friday and set up another 30 beds because of increasing infections, said Tim Brown, marketing and communications director at Athena Health Care Systems, which runs the facility. The building can house up to 90 patients.

The number of Connecticut nursing home residents who are testing positive for the coronavirus and dying from the disease has more than tripled over the past month amid a second COVID-19 surge statewide, according to the latest state data released Thursday. Positive tests among assisted living facility residents have doubled, but deaths have remained steady at three or four per week.

For the week of Nov. 11 to 17, there were 306 nursing home residents who tested positive for the virus and 39 died, compared with 71 positive tests and 15 deaths during the week of Oct. 14 to 20. During the same period, the number of staff members infected increased from 86 to 262, but none of them died, state data show.

In assisted living facilities, 59 residents tested positive and three died during the week of Nov. 11 to 17, compared with 27 positive cases and no deaths the week of Oct. 14 to 20. Employee infections rose from 39 to 66 over the same period, but no deaths were reported.

The increasing infections correspond to statewide and nationwide increases in coronavirus infections and deaths. Since Oct. 20, the number of daily positive virus tests in the state has increased from about 430 to more than 2,300. Daily virus-related deaths have increased from five to 21 over the same period, and hospitalizations have risen from about 220 to 840.

To date, nearly 99,400 people in Connecticut have tested positive for the virus and more than 4,800 have died.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that he was concerned about the virus resurgence in nursing homes.

``Most of our nursing homes now do have an infection ... not outbreaks but infections,'' he said. ``Don't go visit right now. Do not go visit right now. ... If you want to keep your loved ones safe that's our strongest recommendation going forward.''

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2021

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