NORWICH, CT (WFSB) – A Norwich nursing home has been closed due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases.
The heads of state signed an order on Wednesday to close the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich.
All 53 residents will be relocated to other licensed nursing homes, but this must be done slowly so they can contain the outbreak.
There are 17 residents who are in a COVID positive unit and are being transferred to another unit. Another seven are being observed.
In a statement on Wednesday, the JACC Health Center in Norwich, which operates Three Rivers Health Care, said, “This is a challenging time for Three Rivers Health Care, our residents and our employees. We have been working with them since the first COVID outbreak State Department of Public Health to bring our facility into full compliance with state and federal regulations, including hiring a temporary manager to oversee the facility.After an initial assessment, the temporary manager concluded that the facility was back in service Bringing substantial compliance within the facility The timeframe set by the regulators was not feasible due to a number of concerns including the lack of critical staff. Relying on the assessment of the Temporary Manager, the Public Health Officer ordered that all residents to be relocated to other facilities that can safely meet their needs. In these circumstances we support this order. Our priority now is to act safely and quickly to relocate you r residents of other homes who work closely with their families and loved ones. “
It did so after the state Department of Health released results of an investigation into a COVID-1
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The public health department announced last month that it would issue a statement of defects for the Three Rivers nursing home.
It had also asked to set up a temporary manager at the facility, but just days later, she discovered that there was no way to get the facility up and running by September 30th.
“I’ve never served in a facility that I didn’t think I couldn’t do in time,” said Katharine Sacks, the temporary manager.
According to Sacks, some of the biggest issues were that Three Rivers was severely understaffed and staff were not adequately trained.
Some of the violations involve the company’s handling of a COVID-19 outbreak that began weeks ago.
“The temporary manager has identified widespread problems in the facility. They are related to the provision of care for inadequate infection control,” said Deidre Gifford, DPH commissioner.
As of July 24, DPH officials said at least 22 residents and six nursing home workers had been infected with COVID-19. Some of the affected residents had to be hospitalized and four died.
Four of the infected residents died, but Senator Cathy Osten said a fifth died.
“After weeks of telling the administration my concerns about this privately owned, for-profit facility, I’m glad Connecticut made the decision to shut down Three Rivers Healthcare to protect its staff and patients. I have known the state since Months ago researching various nursing homes across Connecticut, and I hope we will not repeat anywhere the lax infection control procedures, staff shortages, and lack of staff training we saw at Three Rivers.I want to thank the family members and friends of the five patients who attend Three Rivers have died, express my condolences. I believe their death is inexcusable and completely preventable if proper precautions are taken and standard coronavirus procedures are followed, “said state Senator Cathy Osten.
During the investigation, some of the citations noted by DPH officials found the following: failure to use protective equipment, failure to properly cohort residents to prevent the disease from spreading, and failure to keep an accurate listing of the outbreaks.
The investigation began on August 17 and included daily visits, reviews of the facility’s records, and interviews with several residents and staff at the facility.
You can find the full report here.
The SEUI1199 union also issued a statement that read “We are extremely disappointed that the Department of Health was unable to intervene earlier and better resolve the problems observed at Three Rivers in Norwich. After nearly six months of working with COVID-19 in Connecticut nursing homes and the death of thousands of residents, Three Rivers is another example of DPH failing to hold nursing homes accountable.
If the state had better enforced and ensured compliance with infection controls and other safety protocols, including, but not limited to, the involvement of an outside manager to take over operations due to the apparent breakdown of previous management, DPH might have avoided the drastic measures taken by the State announced today. DPH needs to do better to ensure that infection control protocols are enforced in every Connecticut nursing home.
The objectionable management behavior at Three Rivers can deserve immediate discharge of patients from the facility. However, closing the facility is not the best outcome for residents and their families, for frontline workers, or for the entire community. By ordering the facility to be evacuated immediately, government action will most likely ensure that the facility is closed, freeing the operator from irresponsible administrative decisions that accelerated COVID-19 infections. Residents will now suffer transfers in the middle of a pandemic. Residents who have been cared for by these dedicated workers for years need to find another place they can call “home” and develop new relationships with the staff. Today’s announcement also means that dozens of frontline workers brave enough to show up at Three Rivers daily to take care of residents may lose their jobs. While we need to take action, we believe that alternative measures were available that would have kept residents safe and provided a way for the care home to fall back on regulatory compliance under a new administration. “
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