A former patient at a Stafford Springs nursing home has tested positive for the coronavirus, state officials said Wednesday.
The man was living in the short-term at the Evergreen Health Center up until Monday, Athena Health Care Systems, which owns the facility, confirmed.
The patient is now receiving treatment at Johnson Memorial Hospital, according to Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell.
Athena Health Care Systems released the following statement:
"This morning we learned that a former patient of Evergreen Health Care Center tested positive for Covid-19. The patient was in our center up until Monday, March 16, on our short-term unit. This individual is being cared for outside of our center in a local hospital.
"We have notified the Connecticut Department of Public Health and its division of Epidemiology and we are acting on all guidance they provide. We have requested testing for each of our staff members and residents, and are awaiting further guidance from the state. We have also requested additional personal protective equipment that will be needed in the weeks ahead through our trade association that is coordinating with the state.
"We have taken other immediate steps to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff. We are undertaking a deep cleaning of the entire building. We also have quarantined the entire unit where the former patient resided, including limiting it to specific staff.
"At the start of this pandemic, we initiated a series of protections aimed at mitigating the threat of coronavirus at our center. These include restricting visitors from Evergreen, taking the temperature of anyone who enters the facility, requiring anyone who enters the facility to complete a health questionnaire, and increasing monitoring of all residents every day.
"We also have been taking the temperatures of all of our patients at every shift since this weekend. We also began taking temperatures and requiring completion of a health questionnaire for all staff at the beginning of each shift last week. We are continuing this practice.
"There is no greater priority for us than the health and safety of our residents and staff. Our thoughts are with our former patient. We understand this is a difficult time for our patients and their families, and we want them to know that we are doing everything in our control to provide a safe environment. We also want to thank our many staff for their unflinching commitment to the health of all our residents.
"We will continue to provide all updates as they become available."
Health officials say older patients and those with underlying health issues are at higher risk for severe cases of COVID-19. Connecticut has one reported coronavirus death, an 88-year-old man from Ridgefield.
The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.
Coronavirus Prevention Steps
Steps for prevention from the CDC include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
- Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus
Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
- Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.
- If you develop symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.
Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.
You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.