Death toll mounting at Shelton nursing homes
SHELTON — The city’s death toll now stands at 53, as a resident of one of the nursing homes reportedly died from coronavirus-related complications.
As deaths continue to rise, so, too, are the number of positive COVID-19 tests, with Naugatuck Valley Health District data showing that the city’s totals have risen to 293, including the 53 deaths. The majority of deaths in Shelton have been residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Data released by the governor’s office Thursday shows that three city nursing homes have some of the highest numbers of COVID-19-related deaths in the state. Gardner Heights Health Care Center, with 130 licensed beds, has 42 positive cases and 15 deaths; Apple Shelton Lakes, with 106 beds, has 40 positives and 13 deaths; and Bishop-Wicke Health and Rehabilitation, with 120 beds, has 22 positives and 12 deaths. Hewitt Health and Rehabilitation Center, with 160 beds, is listed as having four positive tests with no deaths.
Overall, there are 706 positive cases in the Valley. In all, there are 65 Valley deaths - with 11 in Seymour, one in Derby — from complications related to COVID-19, and 59 of those deaths were residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Public Safety Director Michael Maglione said that there have been positive cases in each of the nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the city. But he notes that there have been positive tests in more than 70 locations throughout the city, outside of such facilities.
Statewide, there are 15,884 positive cases — 6,816 of those in Fairfield County — with 971 deaths from COVID-19-related complications. Overall, there are 1,926 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 NVHD Director Jessica 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 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, 47 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 293 positive cases, reported Thursday, there are 113 in Ansonia, 108 in Naugatuck, 107 in Seymour including 11 deaths, 63 in Derby, with one death reported Monday, and 22 in Beacon Falls.
Data show that 205, or 29 percent, of the 706 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 139 of Shelton’s 293 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 158 people are 80 and older; 72 are between 70 and 79; 117 are between 60 and 69; 108 are between 50 and 59; 107 are between 40 and 49; 90 are between 30 and 39; 58 are between 20 and 29; and six 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 ct.gov/coronavirus that breaks down positive COVID-19 cases by town.