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State and Community Health Center partnership continues push for more testing at nursing homes, assisted living facilities

Originally published at WTNH

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Testing has been vigorous in New Britain. There have been 91 COVID-19 deaths and more than 1,000 positive tests.

“New Britain was hit pretty hard,” Governor Ned Lamont said in a conference.

The state has partnered with Community Health Centers around Connecticut to provide free, walk-up testing in urban areas.

“Appropriate testing and follow up still makes sense,” said Dr. Bill Petit.

Yvette Highsmith, Community Health Center, Inc., said they provide access to testing in communities where the population is high.

“Densely populated neighborhoods,” Highsmith said. “Neighborhoods that house and support our essential workers.”

Essential workers like those in nursing homes. New CDC guidelines require mandatory COVID-19 testing for staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and managed residential communities.

“If you have a facility that tests completely negative, both staff and residents, for 14 consecutive days, then the repetitive testing is no longer required,” Josh Geballe, Chief Operating Officer State of Connecticut, explained. “But, if you do get a positive case in a facility, then the whole regime resumes.”

Getting back to work is also essential.

“The city helped us by letting us do a downstairs patio also,” said Peter Lemnotis, 5 Churches Brewery.

“Trying to get our feet wet with outdoor dining and now indoor, and of course, can’t have anyone at our bar,” added Christina Caccioppoli, 5 Churches Brewery.

The governor said bars will not be allowed to open until end of July or early August.

“It would really be nice for them [bars] to open too because everyone in the service industry is hurting throughout this whole thing,” Caccioppoli said.

5 Churches Brewery owner said he has suffered a significant loss of money because of the first shut down. He is just now gaining momentum.

If there is another shut down in the fall, it could be the end of a lot of businesses.

COVID-19 tests are available! Click for more information.