WALLINGFORD — The Quinnipiac Valley Center has admitted its first patient from a local hospital to a new wing dedicated to those recovering from COVID-19.
Dr. Richard Feifer, Genesis HealthCare chief medical officer, said the 30-bed unit at the eastside nursing home became operational on May 8 and so far has admitted one patient.
The recovery wing, located in an area of the 180-bed facility at 55 Kondracki Lane that was previously closed, is an acute step-down unit for COVID-19 patients released from hospital care.
Two nurses dedicated to the recovery wing are on site, Town Health Director Stephen Civitelli said Tuesday during an update to the Town Council.
The recovery unit is slated to be managed separately from the remainder of the facility.
There was some question initially as to whether the recovery wing was going admit Quinnipiac Valley Center residents first due to an increase in cases, but it ended up as an acute step-down unit, Civitelli said.
The National Guard established the site on April 15, one of several in the state designated as a COVID-19 recovery facility.
The Quinnipiac Valley Center did have a COVID-19 outbreak initially, Feifer said. In total, 58 residents and 16 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Seven residents died.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the virus during this difficult time, especially the families of the seven residents that passed away,” Feifer said.
Nursing home deaths
Civitelli said Tuesday that according to the latest data, most local COVID-19 deaths have occurred among nursing home residents.
As of Tuesday, a total of 354 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Wallingford with 39 fatalities, 38 of whom were patients at long-term care facilities.
There have been 183 confirmed cases reported at Wallingford nursing homes, or nearly 52 percent of total local cases.
Civitelli said that in March — when the health department started tracking data as the pandemic hit — there were more cases in the community, reported at 40, than at nursing homes, reported at seven.
In April, there were 260 total confirmed cases reported, with 138 cases at nursing homes and 122 cases from the community at large.
To date, there have been 47 cases reported so far in May, with 40 at nursing homes and seven from the community.
“There’s a drastic drop in our community levels in terms of positive cases,” he said, adding that the positive test rate statewide has dropped from 18 percent to roughly 9 percent.
Civitell said he’s still trying to ascertain the number of residents who have recovered.
In addition to addressing COVID-19, town health department staff have been helping local restaurants and hair salons prepare for reopening on May 20, as well as planning for mass vaccinations.
“We have pandemic plans that we’ve had for many years, but all those pandemic plans were based on having a vaccine available,” he said. “We’re trying to guesstimate, just like everybody else, when a vaccine may be available” and plan for distribution in the meantime.