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COVID-19 : Geer nursing facility recovering from outbreak

“We are grateful to our community for their outpouring of love and support.” Kevin O’Connell, CEO, Geer Village Senior Community

NORTH CANAAN — The Geer Village Senior Community appears to be emerging from an outbreak of COVID-19 that had involved 67 residents and 22 staff since Sept. 30.

However, eight residents of the 82-bed nursing facility with serious underlying health issues died from the coronavirus during that recent wave of infections.

“While we grieve along with the families and our staff for those who have passed, we are encouraged to see more and more residents and staff coming off of quarantine and recovering from this horrible virus,” said Kevin O’Connell, Geer’s CEO. “We are grateful to our community for their outpouring of love and support.”

The Geer administrator offered cautious optimism that the facility is rounding the corner on the contagion.

“We do anticipate this outbreak coming to an end in the next few weeks.”

Staff and residents have recovered

In an update to the community issued on Friday, Nov. 12, Geer officials reported that of the 67 cumulative positive cases among residents since Sept. 30, 48 individuals have recovered.

Of the 22 staff members infected during the outbreak, 21 have recovered.

“We are encouraged to see 69 staff and residents already recovered and coming off isolation. While we must continue with COVID-19 prevention protocols, we want to assure everyone we are doing our best to keep residents and staff safe,” Cady Bloodgood, Geer’s director of nursing, and O’Connell, said in a joint statement. “We continue to provide access to the monoclonal antibody treatment to any resident that meets the criteria for treatment.”

Bi-weekly testing on residents and staff is continuing.

“Despite seeing significant numbers of residents recovering from COVID, testing has resulted in one additional positive case among fully vaccinated residents and staff members,” according to the Geer officials.

Virtual and window visits encouraged

The majority of the positive cases at the nursing home were reported to be breakthrough infections. The facility is technically still considered to be in an outbreak until 14 days have passed with no positive cases. At that time, all Geer Nursing residents and staff will be eligible for the booster, said O’Connell.

All visits continue to remain on hold until further notice. Family members are encouraged to continue to connect virtually and through window visits.

Geer officials said they will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates for residents, staff, families and community stakeholders as the situation changes.

In the meantime, they asked for the public’s help in battling COVID-19 by visiting the CDC website at https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus “to learn how you can help prevent the spread in our community.”

Litchfield County was recently placed in the “High Transmission” category of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), joining six other Connecticut counties in the classification. The High Transmission category, which is the most severe as defined by the CDC, is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher over the past seven days.

With the ongoing rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut due to the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) has strongly recommended that all residents over the age of 2 years, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, return to wearing masks when in indoor public spaces.

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