New data show COVID-19 situation improving in nursing homes
Newly released state data show the vast majority of nursing homes in Connecticut that have had positive cases of COVID-19 and associated deaths did not report any additional cases or deaths over the past week.
Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting Department of Public Health commissioner and the commissioner of the Department of Social Services, noted Friday there were “a lot of zeroes” in the statistics, which included both the cumulative number of positive cases and deaths and any weekly increases at individual facilities.
“It was really, really gratifying to see that after the really, really difficult months our nursing homes have had to endure,” Gifford told state legislators during an online meeting about the public health department’s budget.
Figures released Thursday evening show there were 73 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 new COVID-associated deaths among nursing home residents from June 17-23. Among nursing home staff, there were 64 new cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths. To date, there have been a total of 2,792 confirmed or probable COVID-associated deaths among Connecticut nursing home residents.
Among assisted living facilities, the state’s data show there were no additional COVID-19 cases over the past week. As of June 23, there had been 1,045 cases in assisted living centers and a total of 367 confirmed and probable COVID-associated deaths.
Two associations that represent the industry said the data continues to demonstrate that the nursing home and assisted living sectors are recovering from the pandemic.
“Moving forward, as we implement the weekly testing of staff, this data will inform the public health officials and the nursing homes in their continued efforts to combat the virus. The pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to secure protections for older adults and their care providers,” Mag Morelli, president of LeadingAge Connecticut, and Matt Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities/Connecticut Center for Assisted Living, said in a joint statement.
Statewide, the number of positive cases grew by 65 to more than 46,000 on Friday. There have been 4,307 COVID-associated deaths, an increase of nine since Thursday. Meanwhile, there was a slight uptick in hospitalizations, with five more, for a total of 127.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or lead to death.
In other coronavirus news in Connecticut:
ANTIBODY TEST RESULTS
A new survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 4.94% of Connecticut’s population had tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies, based on test results of samples collected between April 26 and May 3.
The federal agency on Friday released the results of the first six sites involved in a large-scaled seroprevalence survey, which includes Connecticut. The CDC partnered with commercial laboratories that tested blood specimens for the antibodies. The survey included people who had blood tested for COVID-19 and for other reasons. Samples from approximately 1,400 people were tested.
U.S. officials estimate nationwide that 20 million people have been infected with the coronavirus so far.
The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority has approved $3 million in grants to help health care, education, child care, and cultural organizations during the pandemic.
Some of the grants include $304,200 to support the 4-CT Card initiative, which provides emergency funds for Connecticut residents without legal status in the U.S.; $300,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Connecticut for summer and fall programming; and $486,000 to support increased COVID-19 testing at federally qualified health centers throughout the state.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.