Three more coronavirus-related deaths in Shelton

SHELTON — Three more Shelton residents have died from coronavirus-related complications, bringing the city’s total to seven, according to data by area health officials Thursday.

The deaths were three people - two women and one man - in their 90s; three men in their 80s, and one man in his 70s, stated Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD) officials, and five died in nursing homes. The COVID-19-related deaths reported by NVHD have been confirmed through laboratory testing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families who have lost their loved ones during these difficult times,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek.

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. In all, 57 such facilities across the state have at least one worker or resident who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Public Safety Director Mike Maglione had stated earlier this week that a number of 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.”

Shelton now has 66 positive COVID-19 cases, by far the most among the Valley communities. In all, there are 171 residents in the Naugatuck Valley that as of 4 p.m. April 2 had tested positive for COVID-19. There are 31 in Ansonia, 26 in Naugatuck, 20 in Seymour, 18 in Derby, and 10 in Beacon Falls.

The health district, in a release last week, stated that “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 April 2, there were more than 3,800 confirmed cases and 112 reported deaths, including seven from Shelton. Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least April 20, and closed all “nonessential” businesses, until further notice. Lamont said last week that schools may remain closed until the fall, and there can be no gatherings of more than five people.

“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 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.”