TORRINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — As the state falls deeper in the second COVID-19 wave, officials are scrambling to protect residents and staff inside nursing homes.
News 8 was given an exclusive tour of Torrington Specialty Care and Rehabilitation, which just got word over the weekend that it should prepare to reopen as a COVID-ONLY recovery center.
“We’re getting back ready for an influx if it comes,” said Athena Health Care’s Paul Dailey.
Dailey is in charge of getting the center geared up with all the PPE, nursing supplies and medical equipment it needs to start taking COVID patients next month. The building has served this purpose once before, but it’s stood empty since the summer as demand faded.
That respite now proving short-lived as COVID cases have begun tripling in Connecticut nursing homes and deaths are on the rise.
“As of Monday, we started getting our staff ready, started recruiting individuals. We now have a team inside the building,” said Tim Brown with Athena, “We’ll bring with 30 beds and keep adding beds if we need to.”
Athena Health Care has been prepping for this possibility. The company has a storehouse full of protective gear and equipment, and is staying in close contact with the state. Officials are determined to get ahead of this next curve.
The COVID recovery centers take patients from both hospitals and nursing homes—serving as stop gaps for patients who need less intensive care, and helping to both keep ICU’s from overflowing, and stop the spread in long term care.
The home on track to open two weeks after Thanksgiving, which happens to be in time for any possible holiday-related surge.
“We’ve run the building before, we are familiar with the building. We have staff that have already offered to come back to the building. We’re in better position this time. Last time the National Guard was kind enough to come in and help set the building up and get us ready. Now we have our own team that will be taking care of that,” said Brown.
“To have a place for these residents to call home for 14 days if you will,” said Dailey, “Obviously we don’t want people in here. We want them to get home to their families. But it is a safe environment and if they do come we will take care of them.”
Already, there’s good news coming out of these facilities. Athena Health Care opened the state’s first second-wave recovery center in Meriden just under two weeks ago. Brown tells News 8 they’ve already discharged their first patient–fully recovered.
A Thanksgiving blessing, and a morale boost for the frontline workers working hard through the holidays.