Outbreak forces the closure of Connecticut home for retired nuns

Health officials have ordered a Connecticut home for retired nuns closed to visitors and the public because of a coronavirus outbreak that has infected nearly half of the more than 70 residents in the Fairfield County home as vaccinations were underway.

The restrictions on the School Sisters of Notre Dame home in Wilton were ordered by town Director of Health Barrington Bogle, and state health officials were expected to visit the property Monday to help with the outbreak, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said in a statement Sunday.

Vanderslice said 30 residents recently tested positive for COVID-19, as did a number of staff members. Health officials are doing contact tracing in Wilton as well as in the communities where staff members live. There currently isn't any evidence of similar community spread in Wilton, Vanderslice said.

The property is home to over 70 retired nuns, 15 of whom recently received vaccinations as allowed under Phase 1B

The remaining residents and staff were scheduled to be vaccinated Monday after town officials obtained permission to administer the vaccine to non-eligible residents and staff, Vanderslice said.

"We are all saddened the outbreak happened prior to those vaccinations," Vanderslice said. "Please keep this special community of nuns in your thoughts."

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Before the outbreak, only one resident had tested positive for the virus and that was early in the pandemic. The woman died in March.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame was founded in 1833 in Bavaria, Germany, and now includes 2,300 members in 30 countries, according to the organization's website. Its ministries include helping the poor and unfortunate, education, social services and health care.

Residences for retired or infirm nuns around the country have been hit hard by the pandemic. The pattern has aligned with outbreaks at U.S. nursing homes, where 550,000 residents have been infected and nearly 110,000 have died, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

With the Associated Press.