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A report from the State Department of Health found that COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut nursing homes reached their highest since August, over a two-week period in November.

About These Findings

sad senior man looking out windowThe State Department of Health continues to track the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, including those within nursing homes. In December, the agency released a report citing 125 positive cases involving nursing home residents between November 10 and 23.

These cases resulted in 12 deaths and did not take into account the 67 staff members who also tested positive during that time. This marks a significant increase from the previous period tracked – October 27 to November 9 – which saw 45 new cases among nursing home residents. An estimated 54 staff members were also infected.

These incidents have been spread across nursing homes in the state, including:

  • Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in New Milford, a facility with only 105 residents, reported 36 cases during this period. Eight staff members also tested positive and five of the total cases proved to be fatal.
  • Geer Village Senior Community in North Canaan received news coverage concerning its outbreak. New infections stretched back to September 30 and cases increased throughout October. Over a seven-week period, 67 residents contracted COVID-19, 22 staff members tested positive and eight residents died.

The State Department of Health data shows that cases have not been this frequent in Connecticut nursing homes since August 2021. From August 18 to August 31, state nursing homes reported 111 positive cases among residents, 94 among staff and 16 deaths.

In response to this ebb and flow, the State Department of Heath started to fine homes for not complying with the governor’s vaccine mandate for staff. The measure not only extends to nursing homes but any facility that oversees the health and care of older adults, including assisting living centers, hospitals and short-term care facilities.

Reflecting National Trends

In May 2021, Yale University released a study conducted by the law school’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. The study found that as COVID-19 deaths climbed in state nursing homes, workers experienced routine staffing issues, personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and irregular testing.

More recently, another study was conducted by Harvard Medical School and the University of Rochester using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study uncovered a troubling trend. At nursing homes with fewer vaccinated staff members, residents have a higher likelihood of dying from COVID-19. This pattern is far-reaching across the country, particularly in states that have yet to develop or enforce a vaccine mandate for nursing home staff.

More specifically, facilities with the lowest vaccination rates experienced double the number of COVID-19 cases compared to homes with the highest vaccination rates. Looking at the data holistically, nursing homes with lower staff vaccination rates also saw more resident fatalities than facilities with a greater number of vaccinated employees.
 
Did unsafe COVID-19 practices impact your loved one’s health and safety in a Connecticut nursing home? We strongly believe the elderly should be protected in these professional settings. To pursue a claim, contact the nursing home lawyers at Trantolo & Trantolo today.