45 Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 In Colchester Nursing Home Outbreak

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UPDATE 10/2/2020: After further analysis, Genesis HealthCare officials said they now do not believe the outbreak started with a patient admitted from Backus Hospital.

"We value the excellent care provided by Backus Hospital to our patients and our community. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused."

At least 45 residents of a Colchester nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19 in what the local health district is calling an "outbreak."

According a spokesperson for the Chatham Health District, 32 patients at the Harrington Court Nursing Home tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. A total of 45 residents and 11 staff members have tested positive for the disease, according to Dr. Richard Feifer, the chief medical officer for Genesis HealthCare, which runs the facility.

"We believe the outbreak started with a patient that was admitted to our admissions observation unit from Backus Hospital," Feifer said.

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Earlier in September, NBC Connecticut reported the Department of Public Health is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak connected to Backus Hospital. Hartford HealthCare, the hospital's parent company, said at the time that Backus Hospital did have an issue with appropriate use of PPE and took steps to correct that, and to contain any potential exposure.

"Hartford HealthCare has strict infection prevention protocols that prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Backus Hospital has identified an individual lapse in inappropriate use of PPE. Backus Hospital immediately addressed the lapse, conducted contract tracing and performed COVID 19 testing following its standard response plan. Any potential exposure has been contained and Backus Hospital is operating as usual. Backus Hospital is working with DPH as it conducts a review," Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer at Hartford HealthCare said in a statement on September 2.

Genesis HealthCare said it has taken a number of steps to protect community members.

"As this pandemic continues, we remain stringent with restrictions and a whole host of other precautions," Feifer said in a statement. "As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began providing protocols and guidelines for the coronavirus, we have diligently followed them and in many cases, have gotten out in front of public health guidelines, adopting even more stringent infection precautions than were recommended at the time. We also continue to follow the direction of the Connecticut Department of Health in an effort to contain and minimize the spread of the virus."

The state Department of Public Health said during the investigation officials found infection control issues, and the facility will be cited. It has authorized the facility to send 11 COVID-positive residents to the Quinnipiac Valley Center COVID Recovery Facility in Wallingford.

According to the health district's latest data report, the area saw an acceleration in the transmission of COVID-19 in September.

"The 7-day moving average of cases is now over 5 per 100,000," the report states. "Though this is largely driven by a long term care facility outbreak in Colchester, the outbreak does not account for the entire increase."

Is a "third wave" of coronavirus cases poised to hit the U.S.? Idaho is just one state where outbreaks in college and university towns are contributing to a spike in cases. Dr. Frank Johnson, the vice president for medical affairs at St. Luke's Clinic in Idaho, joined LX News to discuss what he's seeing in his state and how the flu could complicate the outlook for this winter.

Connecticut has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks. In just the last two days, the state's test positive rate has climbed close to 2% matching levels not seen since June.

Check back regularly for updates on this breaking story.

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