Some of the nursing staff at Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield in the early stages of the outbreak.

Sixty-four nursing home staffers spread across 37 facilities have recently contracted the coronavirus, according to new statistics released Friday by Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration.

The report is the first following a new administration methodology, and also shows COVID-19-related deaths and infections among nursing home and assisted living facility residents are growing at very slow rates — continuing a two-month trend.

Nevertheless, the state registered 20 new deaths of nursing home residents in the seven-day reporting period, according to the new report.

Besides featuring information on staff illnesses for the first time, the new reporting format also highlights more recent test results and deaths. Previous reports from the Department of Public Health showed cumulative data going back to the pandemic’s start in early March.

Representatives of the nursing home industry had pressed for a change, saying the cumulative data gave the false impression that thousands of elderly residents of these managed-care facilities still are sick with virus.

The latest report “continues to demonstrate that the nursing home and assisted living sectors are recovering,” Mag Morelli, president of Leading Age Connecticut, and Matthew Barrett, president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said in a joint statement. 

The new weekly reporting format comes on the heels of ongoing efforts to screen all nursing home staff regularly for the coronavirus.

“Moving forward, as we implement the weekly testing of staff, this data will inform the public health officials and the nursing homes in their continued efforts to combat the virus,” Morelli and Barrett added. “The pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to secure protections for older adults and their care providers.”

The new report, which covers June 17 through June 23, technically lists test results for staff at 212 nursing home facilities, with 175 reporting no cases. But Lamont administration officials said staff testing has not been completed at all homes to date. The process began on June 14  and some of facilities listed with “zero” positive cases actually haven’t begun the screening program yet.

Of the 37 nursing homes that had infected staff, all but five had either one or two cases.

The Suffield House had the most COVID-19-positive staff with five. Three facilities — Manchester Manor Healthcare Center, St. Joseph’s Center in Trumbull and Fox Hill Center in Vernon — reported four positive staffers each. And the Maple View Health and Rehabilitation Center in Rocky Hill reported three staffers with the coronavirus.

The report also shows Connecticut nursing homes continuing a two-month-long trend of declining death and infection rates.

Infections at nursing homes grew by less than 1% between June 17 and 23, matching the rate from the last reporting period. Deaths also increased by a fraction of 1% in the latest reporting, down from 2.7% between June 10 and June 16.

Seventy-three nursing home residents tested positive for the coronavirus during the most recent reporting period, and 20 died from the illness. To date, 8,745 nursing home residents have contracted the virus and 2,739 have died.

Assisted living facilities reported no new cases of the coronavirus in the latest report — a first since the administration began tracking infections in these centers in May — with the number remaining at 1,045. During the previous reporting period, infections at the more than 130 assisted living complexes had increased by less than 1%.

There were six more deaths from COVID-19 at these centers, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 367. Deaths increased by 1.6% during the last weekly review, compared to a 3.4% jump during the prior seven days.

Assisted living facilities serve residents age 55 and older who need some assistance with daily living activities, but not the skilled care provided by a nursing home.

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Keith M. PhaneufState Budget Reporter

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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Jenna CarlessoHealth Reporter

Jenna is CT Mirror’s Health Reporter, focusing on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems, and other health policy. Before joining CT Mirror Jenna was a reporter at The Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won statewide and regional awards. Jenna has a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.

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