NORWICH, CT (WFSB) – A Norwich nursing home has been ordered to close due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases.
Heads of state signed an order Wednesday closing the Three Rivers nursing home in Norwich.
All 53 residents are being relocated to other authorized nursing homes, but this must be done slowly so that they can contain the outbreak.
There are 17 residents who are in one COVID positive unit and will be transferred to another unit. Another seven are under observation.
In a statement on Wednesday, the JACC Health Center in Norwich, which runs Three Rivers Health Care, said: “This is a challenging time for Three Rivers Health Care, our residents and our staff. Since the initial COVID outbreak, we have partnered with the State Department of Public Health to bring our facility into full compliance with state and federal regulations, including the commitment of an interim manager to oversee the facility.After an initial assessment, the interim manager concluded to bring the facility back into significant compliance within the time frame that is imposed by regulators, was not possible due to a number of concerns, including the absence of critical staff.Regarding the assessment of the interim manager, the Commissioner for Public Health has ordered that all residents be transferred to other facilities that can safely meet their needs. In any case, we support this order, and our priority now is to act safely and expeditiously t to move your r residents to other homes that work closely with their families and loved ones. ”
This comes after the state Department of Public Health published findings last month from an investigation into an outbreak of COVID-1
RELATED: DPH investigation results in ‘immediate danger’ findings after COVID outbreak at local nursing home
The Department of Public Health had announced that a statement was issued about the shortage for the Three Rivers Nursing Home last month.
It had also requested that a temporary manager be put in place at the facility, but only a few days later she decided that there was no way to bring the facility in line with a September 30 deadline.
“I never served in a facility that I did not think I could bring in on time,” said Katharine Sacks, the interim manager.
Sacks said some of the biggest problems were that Three Rivers was severely understaffed and that employees did not have proper training.
A number of the breaches deal with how the company handled a COVID-19 outbreak that started weeks ago.
“The interim manager identified widespread problems in the facility, they are related to the provision of care for inadequate infection control,” said Deidre Gifford, DPH commissioner.
Since July 24, DPH officials said at least 22 residents and six nursing home staff were infected with COVID-19. A number of the affected residents have had to be hospitalized and four have died.
Four of the infected residents died, but Senator Cathy Osten said one-fifth died.
“After weeks of communicating my concerns to the administration about this privately run, for-profit facility, I’m glad Connecticut has made the decision to close Three Rivers Healthcare to protect staff and patients there. I know the state has investigated various nursing homes across Connecticut for several months now, and it is my hope that we will not see a repeat everywhere of the lax infection control procedures, understaffing and lack of staff training that we have seen in Three Rivers.want to express my condolences to the family members and “I believe the friends of the five patients who died at Three Rivers. I believe their death is unavoidable and would have been completely preventable if the right precautions had been taken and standard coronavirus procedures were followed,” said State Senator Cathy Osten.
During the investigation, some of the citations found by DPH officials found included: lack of use of protective equipment, lack of proper co-ordination of residents to prevent the spread of the disease, and failure to maintain an accurate outbreak list.
The survey began on August 17, which included daily visits, reviews of facility registrations, and interviews with several residents and staff at the facility.
See the full report by clicking here.
The union SEUI1199 also issued a statement saying “We are extremely disappointed that the Department of Public Health was not able to step in earlier and do better to address the issues observed at Three Rivers in Norwich. After nearly six months of working with COVID-19 in Connecticut’s nursing homes, and after thousands of residents died, Three Rivers is another example of DPH’s lack of responsibility for nursing homes.
If the state had done a better job of enforcing and ensuring compliance with infection control and other security protocols, including but not limited to bringing an external manager to take over operations based on the apparent collapse of the previous management, DPH might have avoided the drastic measures , which the state has announced today. DPH needs to do better, much better to ensure that infection control protocols are enforced at every nursing home in Connecticut.
The reprehensible management behavior observed at Three Rivers may deserve to discharge patients immediately from the facility. But closing the facility is not the best outcome for residents and their families, for frontline workers or for society as a whole. By ordering the immediate evacuation of the plant, the actions of the state will most likely ensure that the plant closes, allowing the operator to be released from the hook for the irresponsible administrative decisions that accelerated COVID-19 infections. Residents will now suffer during transfers in the midst of a pandemic. Residents who were cared for by these dedicated workers for years will have to find another place they can call “home” and establish new relationships with the staff. Today’s announcement also means that dozens of frontline workers who were brave enough to continue to show up every day in Three Rivers to take care of the residents could be lost jobs. While action needs to be taken, we believe that there were alternative measures available that would have ensured the safety of the residents and provided a way for the nursing home to fall back in line with a new administration. “
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