Officials: Virus outbreaks at 2 Connecticut care centers are related


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Coronavirus outbreaks at two long-term care centers in the same Connecticut town have been linked to a resident of one of the facilities and staff who work at both locations, health officials said Wednesday. The state Department of Public Health launched an investigation.

Two dozen residents and 16 staff at the Avon Health Center nursing home in Avon recently tested positive for the virus, said Jennifer Kertanis, director of the Farmington Valley Health District.

About 4 miles (6 kilometers) away, 11 residents and three staff at the Residence at Brookside tested positive recently, said Ted Doyle, a spokesman for the assisted living facility.

The outbreak appeared to originate from a Brookside resident who went on an outpatient visit and contracted the virus, Kertanis said. Health officials learned of the resident’s positive test on Oct. 1 and said all Brookside residents and staff were tested.

Two Brookside residents who tested positive died, but one of them was in hospice care and it wasn’t clear what role the coronavirus played in their death, Doyle said.

“We’re obviously heartbroken that two people have passed away, but we’re hopeful we’ve stemmed the situation,” Doyle said Wednesday. He said there have been no new positive tests since last week.

Contact tracing showed some Brookside staff also worked at Avon Health Center and testing was done there, Kertanis said.

Tina Richardson, administrator of Avon Health Center, said the outbreak at the nursing home comes amid outbreaks at others across the state, despite staff following state and federal guidance on infection control.

“Upon noting a rise in community spread, we increased our testing of residents and staff,” Richardson said in a statement. “Given the presence of COVID in the facility, we have discontinued in person visitation and are cohorting affected residents on one unit to contain further spread of the virus.”

The state Department of Public Health is investigating the outbreaks and working with staff at the two centers, said agency spokesman Av Harris.

The outbreaks come as Connecticut is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases. The positive test rate was 2.4% on Tuesday, the highest it has been since June. More than 170 people are hospitalized statewide, also the highest total in several months but far fewer than the peak of nearly 2,000 in the earlier days of the pandemic.

As of Wednesday, more than 61,000 Connecticut residents have tested positive for the virus and 4,537 have died since the pandemic began, many of them in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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