Five residents of a Colchester nursing home have now died of COVID-19 as state officials struggle to stem a major outbreak of the virus at the long-term care facility.
Genesis Health Care spokeswoman Lori Mayer said late Monday that there are currently 53 residents of Harrington Court that are infected, as well as 12 staff members. She said five residents have died.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19 during this difficult time, especially the families of the five residents that have passed away,” Mayer said.
The first death apparently occurred on Sept. 27, meaning the virus had likely been spreading for more than a week. Genesis has 76 residents so the new numbers mean that more than 75 percent of Harrington Court’s residents have either died or are currently infected with the virus.
The cause of the outbreak is unclear. Genesis on Monday retracted an earlier statement that the virus entered the facility because a patient transferred to the nursing home from Backus Hospital in Norwich with it.
“Upon further analysis, at this time, we do not believe the outbreak at Harrington Court started from a patient admitted from Backus Hospital. We value the excellent care provided by Backus Hospital to our patients and our community,” Mayer said. “We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.”
Late last week the state Department of Public Health issued a statement saying there were 57 positive cases total and released a timeline:
On September 16th, the facility notified DPH that it had a resident who tested positive for COVID-19.
On September 19th, DPH learned that testing conducted on September 16th and 18th revealed 5 positive residents and 3 positive staff.
DPH surveyors conducted an on-site inspection of the facility on September 18, 2020 and found several infection control deficiencies.
DPH spokesman Av Harris said the agency has since conducted six follow-up surveys and found additional infection control issues which the facility is addressing and for which the facility will be cited.
Meanwhile, DPH’s Healthcare-Associated Infections team has been working with the facility to advise on further testing, cohorting, and infection control measures. DPH also has deployed a mobile testing unit to the nursing home in order to conduct rapid testing to try and contain the outbreak.
DPH investigators have been at the nursing home since last week when the positive cases started being reported.
Despite the intense efforts the cases are continuing to climb.
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