Coronavirus hitting Shelton nursing, assisted living facilities hard

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Four more Shelton residents have died from coronavirus-related complications, bringing the number of city deaths to 52, according to health district data released Wednesday.

Naugatuck Valley Health District stated that all four deaths reported Wednesday were residents of a city nursing home or assisted living facility. The majority of deaths in Shelton have been residents of such facilities.

“The deaths reported to NVHD today occurred within the last week, not necessarily since the last NVHD report,” said health district Director Jessica Stelmaszek. “Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that this virus is (con)tributing to so many deaths among the Valley’s elderly and nursing home assisted living facility population.

“This is a very sad and difficult time for the families and loved ones affected by each passing,” added Stelmaszek. “We also acknowledge how difficult this is for the healthcare workers and caretakers who are somewhat of an extended family of these individuals. The NVHD staff is keeping all the affected in our thoughts and prayers.”

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Overall, there are 276 positive cases in the city, by far the most in the Valley, according to NVHD data released Wednesday. In all, there are 64 Valley deaths from complications related to COVID-19, and 58 of those deaths were residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Statewide, there are 14,755 positive cases — 6,480 of those in Fairfield County — with 868 deaths from COVID-19-related complications. Overall, there are 1,908 people hospitalized with COVID-19. These numbers have prompted Gov. Ned Lamont to recommend that all residents wear masks or facial coverings when in public while also maintaining social distancing if leaving their home is necessary.

For public health surveillance, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated deaths are defined as patients who tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of death, said Stelmaszek, adding that this is not a determination of the cause of death.

The Valley now has 657 positive cases, according to Stelmaszek, adding that the health district is continuing to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet between you and others if you must go out.

“It is evident that we remain in the acceleration phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning we are consistently receiving an increasing number of cases,” Stelmaszek said. “With an increasing number of cases, we can expect that we will continue to see an increased number of COVID-19-related deaths. We expect the Valley cases to continue to rise over the next few days.”

To minimize the amount of people who can be exposed, Stelmaszek said families should designate one person per household to do grocery shopping or other necessary errands. Those going out in public should wear a cloth face covering, she added.

Of the Valley deaths, 46 were people 80 and older, 14 were between 70 and 79, three were between 60 and 69 years of age, and one was between 40 and 49.

Beside Shelton’s 249 positive cases, there are 105 in Naugatuck, 101 in Ansonia, 95 in Seymour including 11 deaths, 58 in Derby, with one death reported Monday, and 22 in Beacon Falls.

Data show that 189, or 29 percent, of the 657 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 131 of Shelton’s 276 confirmed COVID-19 cases are residents of nursing or assisting living facilities.

Positive cases cover a wide range of ages, with Valley data showing that 141 people are 80 and older; 65 are between 70 and 79; 105 are between 60 and 69; 96 are between 50 and 59; 102 are between 40 and 49; 87 are between 30 and 39; 56 are between 20 and 29; and five between 10 and 19 years of age.

Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least May 20 and directed employees at nonessential businesses to stay home until further notice. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The governor has stated that schools may remain closed until the fall.

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

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