10th coronavirus-related death in Shelton, positive cases near 100

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Shelton has yet another coronavirus-related death, and the number of positive cases jumped to 98, by far the most in the Valley, according to health district data released Saturday.

The latest death brings the city’s total to 10 in the past week, stated Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD) officials.

So far, the deaths have been six people — four women and two men — in their 90s; three men in their 80s, and one man in his 70s; with eight being residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The COVID-19-related deaths reported by NVHD have been confirmed through laboratory testing.

“It is with great sadness that the district is announcing the death of three more individuals who have passed away due to complications with COVID-19,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek. “These announcements do not get any easier, and my heart aches for the families who are losing their loved ones.”

Three Shelton assisted living facilities — Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes, Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation, and Gardner Heights Health Care Center — all were listed as having a worker or individual test positive for the coronavirus, according to state health officials.

More than 50 such facilities across the state have at least one worker or resident who has tested positive for the virus.

Public Safety Director Mike Maglione said earlier this week that several positive cases are in the city’s nursing home community, but the virus is also among the general population.

There are five nursing home facilities in Shelton, according to Maglione, housing some 450 residents altogether.

“Positive cases are scattered throughout the city,” said Maglione. “That is why we constantly reinforce social distancing. Stay away from crowds … and wash your hands.”

In all, there are 223 residents in the Naugatuck Valley that, as of 4 p.m. Saturday, had tested positive for the coronavirus. There are 35 in Ansonia, 34 in Naugatuck, 24 in Seymour, 20 in Derby and 12 in Beacon Falls.

The health district, in a release last week, said, “community spread/transmission is now occurring in the Valley. People have been infected with the virus, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Please practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible.”

Statewide, as of Saturday, there were more than 5,200 confirmed cases and 165 reported deaths, including the 10 from Shelton. There are 1,033 coronavirus patients hospitalized, up 124 from Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least April 20, and closed all “nonessential” businesses until further notice. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The governor said last week that schools may remain closed until the fall.

“Residents should continue to heed the advice of their chief elected officials,” added Stelmaszek, “and stay home as much as possible and continue to practice social distancing to avoid exposure and further spread of the virus.”

The NVHD defines a “person under investigation” as anyone who has been identified as someone who may have the virus that causes COVID-19 or who was under investigation but tested negative.

“The health district has received many requests to report ‘recovery’ statistics,” said Stelmaszek. “Currently, there is no reliable recovery data available. Health district staff will continue to work with patients to determine when an individual meets the CDC’s criteria to come out of self-isolation.”

The state Department of Public Health now publishes a report at www.ct.gov/coronavirus that breaks down positive COVID-19 cases by town.

The NVHD release states that the physician who ordered the coronavirus test for the patient and health district staff will contact individuals who test positive for COVID-19.

“Those individuals will remain in quarantine at their homes,” stated the NVHD release. “Individuals who reside in the same household as a laboratory confirmed positive case will also be required to self-quarantine at their home. Health department staff will work with the patients to investigate and determine if additional individuals need to be notified or require 14-day self-monitoring periods at home. If an individual is inpatient or in a healthcare facility, that facility will lead the investigation.”

Stelmaszek said health district officials are “hopeful that some of our residents will start meeting criteria to come out of self-isolation. Most individuals in Connecticut will not have a test to determine if they are still contagious.”