As testing intensifies and death rates slow, nursing home leaders say ‘thousands’ have recovered
More than 60% of Connecticut nursing homes with COVID-19 patients have completed an omnibus testing program crucial to efforts to curtail the pandemic’s spread, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration reported late Thursday.
And while 2,879 elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities have died from the coronavirus, the latest data also shows deaths and infections continue to grow at slower rates, prompting industry leaders to project patient recovery numbers in the thousands.
Of the 170 nursing home complexes reporting at least one case of COVID-19, 104 facilities — just over 60% — have completed point prevalence surveys.
These surveys specifically involve testing all residents of any nursing home — excluding those already confirmed with the coronavirus — all at a single point in time.
State health and nursing home officials both say this is a vital data collection tool that can be used to control the spread of infection. The results allow facilities to quickly identify and to segregate infected from non-infected residents, and also to intensify the use of protective gear among staff assigned to treat those with COVID-19.
Both deaths and infections among Connecticut nursing home residents have been growing at slower rates for more than a month.
The latest report found these rates have declined for six consecutive weeks.
Deaths rose by 144, or 6%, during the latest reporting period after increasing by 9.5% in the previous week.
Infections among nursing home residents grew by 195, or 2.3%, during the week that ended June 3, having risen by 6% during the prior seven days.
“Thousands of nursing home residents with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 are presenting as having recovered from the virus based on the data released tonight,” wrote Mag Morelli, president of Leading Age Connecticut, and Matthew Barrett, president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities. “Official recovery statistics are anticipated to be included in future weekly reports. The recovery dynamic is testimony to the perseverance and dedication of the nursing home employees and their determination to get nursing home residents to a place of recovery in battling the highly contagious virus.”
State health officials haven’t been tracking coronavirus cases as long in Connecticut’s more than 130 assisted living facilities. These centers serve residents age 55 and older who need some assistance with daily living activities but not the skilled care provided by a nursing home.
But fatalities and new COVID-19 cases at these managed-care communities also have been trending downward for the past two weeks.
The latest report found 10 more residents of assisted living facilities have died from the coronavirus, an increase of 3.1% that brings the total to 337. Deaths had grown by 6.4% during the previous reporting period and by 11% during the week ending May 20.
A total of 1,041 infections among assisted living residents have been reported, an increase of 3.4% over the past week. Infections among this population had grown by 3.5% during the previous reporting period and by nearly 12 percent during the week ending May 20.
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