State health officials issue urgent plea to nursing home residents to not travel for Thanksgiving

State health officials are issuing an urgent plea to nursing home residents to not go home for the Thanksgiving holiday - as the risk could be too great.

News 12 Staff

Nov 24, 2020, 10:39 PM

Updated 1,296 days ago

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State health officials are issuing an urgent plea to nursing home residents to not go home for the Thanksgiving holiday - as the risk could be too great.
The warning comes as COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are rising, and state health officials are scrambling to keep the numbers under control.
"We are encouraging family members not to take their loved ones home for Thanksgiving," says Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting Connecticut public health commissioner.
She wants nursing home residents to stay there this Thanksgiving.
"We certainly understand the desire for loved ones to be together over the holidays. We are all experiencing that. However, it does pose a particular risk for the elderly," she says.
In the past few weeks, COVID-19 cases have jumped in nursing homes. To contain the kind of outbreaks the state saw this spring, officials are bringing back COVID-only nursing homes in Torrington, Meriden, Wallingford and East Hartford.
So far, they're only about half-full - but Westfield Care and Rehab in Meriden is filling up fast, so health officials are watching the numbers closely.
"We are actually pretty confident about this 370- to 400-bed capacity right now. We did some modeling at the end of last summer," says Lita Orefice, of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
As the weather gets colder, some nursing homes are setting up tents for outdoor visits.
But for residents, it could be a very lonely winter.
"I miss the human contact.  I really miss, you know, somebody can't even really give you a hug," says nursing home resident Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez.
As for Thanksgiving, even if residents stay at a nursing home, they can at least get a taste of home. Families can drop off a home-cooked meal for them.


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