Domestic Violence, Nursing Home COVID-19 Cases Increasing

April 07, 2020 - 12:43 pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC and AP) — A special police unit in Hartford will handle a surge in domestic violence calls believed to be linked to social isolation measures imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

Two officers during the day and two at night will respond only to domestic violence calls and will give victims information on services including safe houses and counseling, Mayor Luke Bronin said. The city is working with Interval House, a nonprofit group.

Bronin said there was a 20% increase in domestic violence calls to police over the past week, but officials worry many cases are not being reported.

“We’ve asked everybody to stay home,” Bronin said Monday. "But the tragic reality is that as we take those measures to keep our community safe, it also means that there are those in our community, in our neighborhood and loved ones who may be at greater risk and who suffer in this time of isolation.”

Underreporting of domestic abuse may be greater now as victims are isolated with their abusers, Bronin said.

There has been “a horrifying global surge in domestic violence” as fear of the coronavirus has grown along with its social and economic consequences, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday.

As of Monday, more than 6,900 Connecticut residents had tested positive for the coronavirus, and 206 deaths were associated with it, officials reported. More than 1,200 people were being hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

In other developments around Connecticut:



COVID-19 cases in nursing homes around the state have more than doubled since Friday.

The state is reporting that 477 nursing home residents have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, including 142 who were hospitalized and 65 who have died. More than 70 of the 215 nursing homes in the state have had at lease one confirmed case of COVID-19.

On Friday, officials said 221 residents had tested positive, including 80 who were hospitalized and 23 who had died. There were 48 nursing homes reporting at least one case of COVID-19.

Gov. Ned Lamont has announced financial incentives, including Medicaid rate increases, for Connecticut nursing homes that agree to house only COVID-19 positive residents, a move aimed at preventing the system from being overwhelmed by the outbreak. The governor's office was expected to release a list of COVID-19-only nursing homes this week.

At one nursing home and rehabilitation center in Milford, nearly half the residents have tested positive for the disease. As of Friday, Golden Hill Rehab Pavilion had 44 positive cases and at least one family said it learned a relative contracted the disease only after he died, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

The executive director of the care center, Andrew Wildman, said in a statement to News12 Connecticut that Golden Hill is notifying families “timely and as appropriate,” and that staff members have “plenty” of protective equipment and are having their temperatures checked daily.