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COVID Outbreak Continues at West Hartford Nursing Home

Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation. We-Ha.com file photo

Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford has reported more than 70 positive COVID-19 cases among residents and 18 cases among staff over the past four weeks.

By Ronni Newton

Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation continues to take measures to stem an outbreak of COVID-19 that in the past four weeks has infected 72 residents and 18 staff members over the past four weeks.

Since the most recent outbreak began, eight residents of the West Hartford nursing home have died, including two in the past week and five in the previous week.

According to a data released by the state Thursday evening, which covered the period Nov. 11-17, there were 13 new positive cases reported among residents, as well as three among staff members.

Statewide, for that same seven-day period included in Thursday’s report, there were 306 nursing home patients infected, and 39 deaths. There were 262 cases reported statewide among nursing home staff, and no fatalities.

Aimee Krauss, director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, confirmed that the Department of Public Health is working with both the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation to contain outbreaks.

DPH spokesperson Av Harris said the agency is unable to comment on the situation at Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation due to an ongoing investigation. “DPH continues to work with the facility to contain the outbreak,” Harris said.

Maribeth Muller, associate vice president of Marketing and Business Development for National Health Care Associates, which operates the nursing home, said that according to administrator Penni Martin, 35% of the new patients were asymptomatic.

Among those who have been infected, 35 have recovered, Muller said.

The current census at Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation is 160.

Muller said guidelines provided by the state as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Protection continued to be followed at Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation. Those guidelines include active contact tracing, prohibiting visitors other than for compassionate care, separation of COVID-positive cases into isolated units, and weekly staff testing as well as other supplemental testing.

“The leadership team at Hebrew Center appreciates the commitment and dedication of the staff during this pandemic,” Muller said.

Ruthan Wein noted in a comment on a previous We-Ha.com article that her brother – a resident of the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation for the past seven years – was infected with COVID-19 during the first wave in the spring. “He was very close to death, but due to the extraordinary efforts of Jen Kaiser, Director of Nursing, and Rosemary Beaudoin, Assistant Administrator, he survived, as did others, and they were able to keep the building COVID-free for several months. I was kept in the loop every step of the way and they were (as they are now) very transparent with information to families. They work round the clock in accordance with CDC and Department of Health and they don’t ever give up. My experience tells me that their skill and their dedication will get them through this second wave of this awful disease … they have my full support.”

Most of our nursing homes have an infection now, Gov. Ned Lamont said during Thursday’s press briefing. “Do not go visit right now. If you want to keep your loved ones safe that’s our strongest recommendation going forward.”

Last week there were seven residents and one staff member at the Reservoir in West Hartford who tested positive. Krauss said the Department of Public Health is also working with the Reservoir to contain their outbreak.

There were no additional positive cases reported at the facility this week, but there was one fatality, according to state data.

Two cases among residents at Hughes Health & Rehabilitation in West Hartford were also reported Thursday. One staff member at West Hartford Health & Rehabilitation also tested positive during the seven-day period included in Thursday’s report.

Other towns with sizable outbreaks in nursing homes include Fairfield, Killingly, Newington, North Branford, North Haven, Plainfield, Vernon, and Wallingford.

Statewide there were 59 new positive cases among residents of assisted living facilities reported last week, and 66 staff members who tested positive for COVID-19.

Two of the resident cases were in West Hartford – one at Brookdale Chatfield and one at The McAuley. In addition, two staff members at Brookdale Chatfield tested positive, as did seven at the McAuley.

For the seven-day period covered by Thursday’s nursing home and assisted living report, West Hartford had a total of 155 new positive cases.

According to data reported by the state Thursday, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, West Hartford has had 1,486 cases.

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