With more deaths, positive cases, Naugatuck Valley Health District urges people stay home if possible
SHELTON — The city had four more deaths of people who tested positive for the new coronavirus and 13 new COVD-19-positive cases as health officials urge residents to remain home and follow social-distancing guidelines.
There are now 31 deaths in Shelton, with all four city people who died Tuesday into Wednesday having resided in a nursing home or assisted living facility, according to data released by the Naugatuck Valley Health District on Wednesday.
Of the 33 deaths in the Valley, 29 were residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
“The NVHD is urging residents to please stay home as much as possible,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek, “and please continue to 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,” added Stelmaszek. “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 potentially 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.
“We send our condolences to the families,” Public Safety Director Michael Maglione said after 10 deaths were reported Tuesday. “We understand the loss for families who couldn’t be with their loved ones at the end is even more tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
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; this is not a determination of the cause of death, Maglione said.
Of the Valley deaths, 25 were people 80 and older, seven were between 70 and 79, and one was between 60 and 69 years of age.
Three Shelton assisted living facilities — Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes, Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation and Gardner Heights Health Care Center — 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.
Maglione said last 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,” Maglione said. “That is why we constantly reinforce social distancing. Stay away from crowds … and wash your hands.”
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that the state, overall, has a total of 326 COVID-19-related deaths. Statewide, there are 1,418 presently hospitalized, with some 8,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus.
In Shelton, positive cases rose nearly 13 in 24 hours to 160, by far the most in the Valley. Overall, there are 337 positive cases in the Valley, with 54 in Naugatuck, 43 in Ansonia, 38 in Seymour (including two deaths), 28 in Derby and 14 in Beacon Falls.
Data show that 109, or 32 percent, of the 337 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Ninety of Shelton’s 160 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 87 people are 80 and older; 38 are between 70 and 79; 44 are between 60 and 69; 49 are between 50 and 59; 46 are between 40 and 49; 52 are between 30 and 39; and 21 are between 20 and 29.
Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least April 20 and directed employees at nonessential businesses to stay home 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,” said Stelmaszek, “and stay home as much as possible and continue to practice social distancing to avoid exposure and further spread of the virus.”
Maglione said there are no plans to close parks, trails or the Shelton High School track, adding that city residents are maintaining social distance, and “we are not seeing groups of 15, 20 people walking together or gathered talking. All the emergency services would like to thank Shelton residents for following social-distance guidelines.”
For more information about making or using cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
The state Department of Public Health now publishes a report at ct.gov/coronavirus that breaks down positive COVID-19 cases by town.