NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak at Three Rivers nursing home in Norwich.

Officials said the outbreak infected 13 residents and two staff members. One resident has since died, and several are hospitalized.

“This unfortunate outbreak underscores the need for all of us to keep our guard up in the fight against COVID-19,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, MD MPH in a statement. “COVID is still present in our communities and the virus can spread quickly if we do not remain vigilant about controlling the infection. DPH is conducting an analysis to determine how the virus may have been introduced into Three Rivers, and we are investigating all aspects of this facility’s infection control practices, including appropriate cohorting, PPE use by staff, and appropriate staff screening.”

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DPH is also assessing the facility’s level of compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order 7AAA, which mandates weekly testing for all nursing home staff.

“No matter what happened with the staff, or who it was, what really caused this outbreak is the lack of proper guidance and enforcement by the Department of Public Health,” said Jesse Martin, Vice President, SEIU 1199NE. “The system of testing nursing home staff in Connecticut is the worst in the entire northeast.”

The state’s weekly staff testing mandate is an important tool for preventing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.

A union representative for 80 percent of the employees there said there were no cases at the facility.
Then, in the last few weeks, an employee brought the virus into the building.