Nursing home staff gets vaccinated. (Ronni Newton / photo)

Over the past two weeks more than 4,800 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and officials are now reporting a month-long outbreak at a Connecticut nursing home where eight residents with underlying health conditions have died. 

The outbreak at Geer Village Senior Community, a nursing home in Canaan, started in October. The home reports that 67 residents and 22 staff members have tested positive in addition to the eight patient deaths. Most who contracted the virus have recovered, but the home is not accepting any visitors as a result of the outbreak. 

“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,” officials from the home said on their website. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates for residents, staff, families, and community stakeholders as the situation changes.”

The state says the home has 82 residents. 

The outbreak began before boosters, which are recommended for specific groups at higher risk of COVID-19 and severe complications from the virus, were made available. 

As of last week there were 2,433,128 fully vaccinated Connecticut residents. At least 95% of those over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, according to the Department of Public Health. The rates of booster shots are hard to measure and not part of the weekly or daily report compiled by the Department of Public Health. There are more than 500 locations across Connecticut administering the booster shots, according to the agency. 

Regulators eased their guidelines so patients looking for supplemental doses are no longer bound to receive the same vaccine formula as their initial vaccination cycle. With regard to booster shots, the formulas can now be mixed and matched interchangeably. 

“You do not need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated,” the DPH writes on its website. 

Over the weekend clinics across the state mobilized to vaccinate children ages five to 11 who previously had not been eligible for inoculation. As of last week, 71% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 had been vaccinated.

Since February there were 19,383 reported cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated residents. Of those 175 people have died. 

In contrast, the Department of Public Health says a person who is unvaccinated has a risk that’s five times higher than a vaccinated person of contracting COVID-19 and the risk of dying is nine times higher, while the risk of hospitalization is seven times higher. 

As far as nursing homes are concerned, the risk of infection still remains high. 

The state reported 45 active cases of COVID among nursing home residents, three deaths, and 54 cases among staff last week throughout the more than 200 nursing homes statewide.