MERIDEN — After four months of no new COVID-19 cases, Connecticut Baptist Homes reported a surge of six new infections and four deaths this month, according to Executive Director Patricia Morse.
The new cases accounted for nearly half the state’s increase in positive cases at nursing homes during the week of July 15 to 21, according to records from the state Department of Public Health. Two deaths at the Thorpe Avenue facility occurred in the first half of the month, and two occurred more recently.
In a July 28 letter to families of Connecticut Baptist Homes residents, Morse said an asymptomatic person who was unaware of carrying the infection came into contact with other residents and employees.
“We took immediate action to isolate and contain the disease, as well as report these cases to state and local authorities,” Morse said in the letter. “Tragically, four of our residents passed away as a result, and we have expressed our deepest sympathies and support to their families and loved ones.”
Baptist Home officials followed local, state and federal guidelines on isolating patients and using personal protective equipment to safeguard staff. Contact tracing was also implemented, Morse said.
No new cases have been reported for the past week, and those who had been diagnosed are recovering and resting comfortably, she said. The families have been notified, and the situation is being monitored, while staff and residents are tested regularly.
“We remain in close contact with both the Meriden Health Department and the state Department of Public Health,” Morse said.
The first cases were reported to Meriden Health and Human Services Director Lea Crown, who also tracks resident cases in the state disease surveillance system.
“Through our contact tracing, we do follow up with any staff that live in Meriden to obtain information on their close contacts so we can follow up with quarantine recommendations,”Crown said in an email. “If staff do not live in Meriden, their respective health department will do the contact tracing.”
Crown said she’s aware that the nursing home is testing residents and staff every two days and cohorting patients and staff. The state Department of Public Health has also visited the facility. DPH takes the lead in outbreaks in nursing homes, she said.
The outbreak also serves as a reminder for people to remain vigilant, Crown said.
“Although Connecticut is seeing a low positivity rate, the public — persons of ALL ages — should not lose sight of continuing to practice good public health prevention measures, including wearing a face covering when out in public, social distancing, frequent hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, and avoiding large crowds and gatherings,” Crown said. “If you are feeling ill, stay home. If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have had close contact with someone who has been confirmed with COVID, get tested.”