Coronavirus reporting changes put Shelton deaths at 84

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — One more nursing home resident died from coronavirus-related complications, bringing the city’s death toll to 72 but newly released data could hike that number by 12.

The Naugatuck Valley Health District released information Friday that included laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths, which stand at 72, as well as “probable” coronavirus associated deaths. That number stands at 12, meaning Shelton could have 84 total deaths related to the pandemic.

“We extend our condolences to the families and friends of the individuals who have passed away from complications due to COVID-19,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek.

Stelmaszek stated that the addition of probable COVID-19 associated death data is being reported in response to the state of Connecticut now reporting probable death data.

“Our condolences continue go out to the families and friends of those who have passed away,” said city Public Safety Director Michael Maglione, adding that, beside the vast number in the nursing homes and assisted living facilities, there are more than 140 different spots with individuals testing positive throughout Shelton, with varying age ranges.

Shelton has 362 positive coronavirus tests, by far the most in the Valley. Overall, there are 923 positive cases in the Valley and 95 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 related deaths — with 18 in Seymour, two each in Derby and Ansonia and one in Naugatuck.

Including the probable COVID-19-related deaths brings the Valley total to 110, with the 12 in Shelton and one each in Seymour, Naugatuck and Ansonia.

The state has again released data from all nursing homes. For Shelton, the state data says there have been 52 laboratory-confirmed deaths in city nursing homes — 21 at Gardner Heights, 15 at Bishop Wicke, 14 at Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes and two at Hewitt. Probable COVID-19-related deaths sit at 12, and once confirmed push the overall number to 64.

But Maglione says that number is far too low, and the reason is many of the nursing home residents in Shelton were listed under a former address, not the new Shelton one. This may also be causing an under-reported number of positive tests in city nursing homes. That number, according to the state, stands at 165.

In all, using the state numbers, some 35 percent of the 476 nursing home residents in Shelton have at least tested positive for COVID-19. No records are released on hospitalizations.

Stelmaszek said, of the 72 laboratory-confirmed cases, all but five were residents of nursing or assisted living facilies. Of the 12 probable cases, 10 were residents of nursing or assisted living facilities.

Statewide, as of Sunday, positive cases sit at 24,582 — 10,373 of those in Fairfield County — with 1,862 deaths from COVID-19-related complications. Overall, there are 1,810 people - a drop of 137 from Thursday — hospitalized with COVID-19. The numbers have prompted Gov. Ned Lamont to order 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.

Area health district officials are continuing to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing by keeping six feet between you and others if you must go out. 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.

Of the Valley laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-related deaths, 70 were people 80 and older, 19 were between 70 and 79, five were between 60 and 69 years of age, and one was between 40 and 49.

Beside Shelton’s 362 positive cases reported Friday, there were 159 in Naugatuck, 150 in Ansonia, 138 in Seymour, 83 in Derby and 31 in Beacon Falls.

Data show that 255, or 27 percent, of the 923 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 164 of Shelton’s 362 confirmed COVID-19 cases are residents of seven different facilities, including both nursing and assisting living facilities.

Positive cases cover a wide range of ages, with Valley data showing that 186 people are 80 and older; 87 are between 70 and 79; 149 are between 60 and 69; 149 are between 50 and 59; 139 are between 40 and 49; 120 are between 30 and 39; 83 are between 20 and 29; and 10 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.