State orders closure of Norwich nursing home

NORWICH, CT (WFSB) — A Norwich nursing home has been ordered to close due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases.

State leaders signed an order on Wednesday that will shut down the Three Rivers Nursing Home in Norwich.

All 53 residents will be moved to other licensed nursing homes, but it will have to happen slowly so they can contain the outbreak.

There are 17 residents who are in a COVID-positive unit, and will be transferred to another unit. Another seven are under observation.

In a statement on Wednesday, the JACC Health Center of Norwich, which operates Three Rivers Health Care, said “This is a challenging time for Three Rivers Health Care, our residents and our staff. Since the initial COVID outbreak, we have been cooperating with the State Department of Public Health to bring our facility into full compliance with state and federal regulations, including the engagement of a Temporary Manager to oversee the facility. Following an initial assessment, the Temporary Manager concluded that bringing the facility back into substantial compliance within the timeframe mandated by regulatory bodies was not feasible due to a number of concerns, including the absence of critical staff. Citing the Temporary Manager’s assessment, the Commissioner of Public Health has ordered that all residents be transferred to other facilities that can safely meet their needs. Under these circumstances we support this order. Our priority now is acting safely and swiftly to relocate our residents to other homes, working closely with their families and loved ones.”

This comes after the state’s Department of Public Health released findings last month from an investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility.

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The Dept. of Public Health had announced the issuance of a statement of deficiency for the Three Rivers Nursing home last month.

It had also asked for a temporary manager to be put in place at the facility, but just a few days later, she determined there was no way to bring the facility into compliance by a Sept. 30 deadline.

“I’ve never served in a facility that I did not believe I could not bring into timely compliance,” said Katharine Sacks, the temporary manager. 

Sacks said some of the biggest problems were that Three Rivers was severely understaffed, and that employees did not have proper training.

A number of the violations deal with how the company handled a COVID-19 outbreak that started weeks ago.

“The temporary manager identified widespread problems in the facility, they’re related to delivery of care to inadequate infection control,” said Deidre Gifford, DPH Commissioner. 

Since July 24, DPH officials said at least 22 residents and six staff members at the nursing home became infected with COVID-19. A number of the impacted residents have needed to be hospitalized and four have died. 

Four of the infected…