State to dedicate 2 nursing homes, other alternate sites to COVID-positive patients

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) — The coronavirus statistics reflect social distancing may be working statewide, but there is a crisis happening in several nursing homes.

State officials said 39 percent of homes have at least one positive coronavirus case.

The state unveiled a plan to create dedicated nursing homes for coronavirus patients, but it still hasn’t been rolled out. Precious days have been wasted and lives may have been lost.

Two homes will be dedicated, and a couple of alternate care sites are being set up. One alternate care site is a closed nursing home that’s being reopened. The other is a space on a hospital campus. Officials said Sharon, Torrington and New Canaan will be home to these sites.

Combined, all of the spaces will have 420 beds, which hopefully will be enough to care for these coronavirus patients.

The actual shuffling and transporting of the patients hasn’t happened yet.

Nursing home employees are also crying out for help, saying they don’t have the protective gear to care for these patients. The state says they’re moving on this to make sure they have that gear.

Chelsea Daniels made an urgent plea for help on Wednesday. The Licensed Practical Nurse at Fresh River Healthcare in East Windsor says more has to be done.

“We’re running out of time, in fact, we’re out of time,” Daniels said about nursing homes across the state.

She was one of the several District 1199 union members who shared their stories with Channel 3. They described wearing garbage bags for protection and re-using gear that would normally be thrown away after a single use.

“This is not uncommon in terms of what nursing home workers are facing. They’re being asked by administrators to make their own protective gear,” said Rob Baril, President of SEIU 1199NE.

Barbara Cass of the State Department of Public Health addresses some of those concerns on Wednesday afternoon. She said they’re constantly monitoring PPE supplies and now, they’re working to speak with front-line workers.

“So, we can hear from them, hear anecdotally what may be happening that may not be reported by nursing homes,” Cass said.

Right now, the nursing union says 55 of their members have tested positive.

We’re expected to learn more about the nursing home plan on Thursday.

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Check out the original article here from WFSB 3.

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