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West Hartford Nursing Home Dealing with COVID-19 Outbreak

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

The Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation in West Hartford has reported more than 40 positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff over the past two weeks.

By Ronni Newton

A West Hartford nursing home is taking measures to stem an outbreak of COVID-19 that has impacted 34 residents and 10 staff members over the past two weeks, and the Department of Public Health is currently conducting an investigation.

Data released by the state indicated that for the seven-day period ending Oct. 27, there were 10 residents of the 191-bed Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation who tested positive for COVID-19.

Two staff members also received positive tests that same week according to the state.

For the seven-day period ending Nov. 3, the state report indicated another 24 residents of the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation tested positive for COVID-19, along with eight more staff members. The death of one resident was also attributed to the coronavirus according to data provided by the state.

“We are investigating the outbreak,” Av Harris, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, confirmed to We-Ha.com. in an email. “DPH is working with the facility to help identify cases and contain the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Maribeth Muller, a spokesperson for the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation, said in an email that the facility is actively taking measures to contain the outbreak.

“We are investigating the source and actively contact tracing,” Muller said.

In accordance with regulatory guidelines, she said that due to the positive cases visitors are no longer being permitted, other than for compassionate care.

Muller said that COVID-positive patients have been separated into isolated units in the facility in order to prevent further transmission.

“At this time, in addition to weekly staff testing, Hebrew is also conducting supplemental testing,” she said.

During the two weeks where the state’s report indicated positive cases at Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation, statewide there were 85 COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents reported for the seven-day period ending Oct. 27, and 113 cases for the seven-day period ending Nov. 3.

During the same two-week period, data for West Hartford overall indicated 80 positive cases for the seven-day period ending Oct. 27, and 88 cases for the seven-day period ending Nov. 3.

As of a report issued by the state on Friday, Nov. 6, West Hartford has had 1,223 residents test positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, averaging roughly 13 new cases per day over the past week.

Aimee Krauss, director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, said that the Health District had been in contact with the Hebrew Center as well as the state’s Department of Public Health, and had provided the facility with guidance.

Krauss noted that town wide, the the primary source of COVID-19 infection continues to be social gatherings.

“The number of cases in West Hartford have increased,” Krauss said. “When we complete our contact tracing we have found that social gatherings have occurred and social distancing has not been maintained. West Hartford has community spread and residents should be cautious when attending social events and gatherings. People have tested positive who are asymptomatic.”

Krauss urged residents to stay home if they feel sick – even if they think they have a cold or some other mild illness.

“We have found that some symptoms have been mild for individuals and then others think it is allergies or stomach bug,” Krauss said.

She said that symptoms of COVID include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Krauss strongly recommends testing for anyone who feels sick or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive. “If residents get tested for COVID they should remain at home and isolate until they receive results,” Krauss added.

The Health District, in collaboration with InterCommunity Health Care, will be hosting free walk-up COVID-19 testing at the Elmwood Community Center for the next three Tuesdays. The testing will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and no appointment or pre-registration is required.

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1 Comment

  • The article about the Covid outbreak at Hebrew Center is indeed troubling and sad. My brother is a 7 year Resident of the facility and had Covid during the first wave of the virus last Spring……he was very close to death, but due to the extraordinary efforts of Jen Kaiser, Director of Nursing & 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 Dept. 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.

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