Data shows rise in COVID deaths in Connecticut nursing homes

Associated Press

Hartford, Conn. — A dozen nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in Connecticut over a recent two week period, which is the largest number since mid-August, new data released Friday showed.

There were 125 positive cases of COVID-19 among residents between Nov. 10 and Nov. 23, with 12 deaths, according to state Department of Health data. Sixty-seven staff also tested positive during the same period. Five of those deaths occurred at Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, which reported 36 positive cases among its 105 residents and eight positive cases among its staff.

A message was left seeking comment with the facility's administrator.

Gov. Ned Lamont, left, talks with Jeanne Peters, 95, during a visit to The Reservoir nursing home, after she was given the first COVID-19 vaccination in West Hartford, Conn. A dozen nursing home residents died from COVID-19 in Connecticut over a recent two week period in November 2021, which is the largest number since mid-August.

The last time there were more than a dozen nursing deaths reported during a two-week period was between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. At that time there were 16 deaths from COVID-19 among nursing home residents, 111 positive cases among residents and 94 cases among staff.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut has grown by 267.4, an increase of 70.8%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health recently announced it had begun issuing civil penalties that totaled more $19 million to 101 long-term care facilities across the state for not complying with Gov. Ned Lamont's executive order mandating staff be vaccinated. The affected facilities include nursing homes, assisted living services agencies, managed residential communities, residential care homes, chronic disease hospitals, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani called the facilities' failure to report their vaccination compliance with Lamont's order unacceptable.

“With the holidays and colder weather approaching, we expect cases of COVID-19 to rise in the community, which increases the chances that COVID-19 cases will rise in long-term care settings," she said in a statement.

Representatives from the industry, however, have questioned the state's figures, saying more analysis is needed to determine the extent of noncompliance. They predicted there will be high levels of staff vaccination when the final numbers are tallied.