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Deadly Delta variant outbreak impacts residents, staff at Canaan nursing home

63 total people came down with COVID-19 in the facility. Three residents with underlying health conditions have passed away.

CANAAN, Conn. — A local nursing home is dealing with a health and staffing crisis following an outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

The Geer Village Senior Community in Canaan said three residents with underlying health conditions have passed away.

RELATED: CT DPH says they are ready for booster shot rollout

63 people, a mix of residents and staff, came down with COVID-19 in the facility, just weeks before booster shots were about to be administered.

CEO Kevin O’Connell told FOX61 it was almost as if a switch went off because for 18 months, Geer Village largely kept the virus at bay.

“Nothing that spread as quickly as this did," O'Connell said. “They are suffering. It’s not mild, that's for sure."

Of the 63 people who caught COVID-19, 49 are residents and 14 are staff. All of them are vaccinated.

The outbreak underscores the critical need for booster shots as immunity from the original doses wanes.  

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Nursing homes across Connecticut are in a race against the virus.

“When the Pfizer booster was approved back in September, nursing homes immediately began the rollout,” Matt Barrett, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities, said.

RELATED: Here's how to know if you need a COVID booster shot and which one you can get

The state has partnered with 10 pharmacies to get those booster shots into arms.

The newest statewide data shows another 105 nursing home residents and staff recently tested positive across the state. That’s despite an average of 92% of nursing home residents and 94% of staff being vaccinated.

“To see all of these fully vaccinated folks come down with COVID has been extremely frustrating,” O’Connell added.

Although, the facility thinks they know how their outbreak started.

O’Connell also told FOX61 that Geer Village admitted someone to short term rehab, who initially didn’t show symptoms and didn’t test positive.

“That’s how it started and maybe it went to a roommate or staff member and it’s very very challenging once it’s in to stop it,” O’Connell explained.

O’Connell said the facility's booster shot clinic on hold while they deal with this outbreak. Seven staff members also remain out sick.

The nursing home is not accepting new admissions and visitors at this time.

RELATED: CT doctor answers questions about COVID-19 booster shots, vaccines for young kids

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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