Geer Village Senior Community in Canaan, Connecticut, has experienced a wave of cases since reporting three positive cases in October.
An NBC Connecticut report stated a total of 89 residents and staff have been infected since Sept. 30. So far, 48 residents and 21 employees have recovered. the facility houses approximately 70 residents.
A reported 87 of the 89 cases were among those fully vaccinated.
“We are encouraged to see 69 staff and residents already recovered and coming off isolation. While we must continue with Covid-19 prevention protocols, we want to assure everyone we are doing our best to keep residents and staff safe. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates for residents, staff, families, and community stakeholders as the situation changes,” Geer Village said in a statement.
Due to the current outbreak, all visits are ended until further notice. “We understand that connecting with family members is incredibly important to our residents, and you are encouraged to continue to connect virtually,” the statement added.
Residents and staff will become eligible for a booster shot when Geer Village has gone two weeks without any new COVID-19 cases. So far, no new cases have been reported since Nov. 8.
Many nursing homes experienced high numbers of positive coronavirus cases and deaths during the pandemic. The Geer Village case is unique in the sense that the facility did not have high case numbers during the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, with positive cases surging only in recent weeks.
In contrast with Geer Village, nursing homes were told by the U.S. government Friday to ease restrictions imposed around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing visitors at all times.
The updated guidance (pdf) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) cites an increase in vaccination rates among nursing home residents and a drop in COVID-19 cases nationwide since the last update, made in March.
“CMS will continue to monitor vaccination and infection rates, including the effects of COVID-19 variants on nursing home residents, which have recently caused the number of cases to slightly increase. However, at this time, continued restrictions on this vital resident’s right are no longer necessary,” the memorandum states.
The move “gets us the closest to pre-pandemic visitation that we’ve ever been since the beginning of the pandemic,” Jodi Eyigor, director of nursing home quality and policy for LeadingAge, an industry group, told the Associated Press.
“But it doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over and that COVID is not circulating. The nursing homes, the residents, and their loved ones are all going to have to work together to make sure that visits are occurring and they are occurring safely,” she added.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.