Sources: Several CT nursing homes under-reporting coronavirus deaths

Coronavirus

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — New data is expected by Friday on the number of fatalities in nursing homes in the state. Those numbers are expected to jolt.

Already several sources have confirmed to News 8 that at nursing homes in East Haven and Windsor, deaths from COVID-19 have been much higher than initially reported, well into the double digits.

RELATED: Gov. Lamont to sign order mandating assisted-living facilities report coronavirus cases

In  recent weeks, the percentage of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes have represented between about 30 and 55 percent of the total number of deaths in the state.

Now, the Chief Medical Examiner said that not all nursing homes have been reporting their suspected or confirmed COVID-19 deaths to him, despite being required to, and repeatedly warned by the Department of Health.

The ME said his office has found numerous instances of possible COVID deaths that were never reported by the nursing homes and only discovered as the body was set to be cremated.

The under-reporting is slowing down the ME’s office as they try to keep an accurate count of coronavirus cases in the state.

Families have also told News 8 that they are not informed when there is a COVID case or death at their loved one’s nursing home.

Governor Ned Lamont said he’d look into whether nursing homes are require to do so.

Some of the area’s leading nurses from Yale, Quinnipiac and Fairfield universities sent a letter to Lamont, saying that they have some recommendations for him to stop the spread in nursing homes.

“One of the challenges that we see is that in some cases, staff are being encouraged to work even if they’re sick and obviously that’s going to spread the disease, so we would not want to see that happen,” said Sheila Molony, Professor of Nursing at Quinnipiac University.  “In order to prevent that we need to have widespread testing available for nursing home staff and residents. And we need to have fit tested N95 masks and the other personal protective equipment.”

Molony said Connecticut should take a lesson from Maryland and implement “strike force teams,” that would do assessments, testing and provide help with infection prevention and infection control measures.

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