HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's Department of Public Health has decided to close a Norwich nursing home where officials allege violations of COVID-19 protocols have led to several deaths.

Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford planned to discuss the decision, which was first reported by The Day newspaper of New London, at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Gifford on Monday announced the appointment of a temporary manager to take over operations at the Three Rivers Nursing Home following the investigation of a late July outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility. At least least 21 residents and six staff became infected, and four of those patients have since died.

The Health Department determined the facility failed to initially group residents who had tested positive to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and failed to use personal protective equipment in accordance with federal standards. There were a number of other findings, including failure to maintain a 14-day quarantine for a resident exposed to COVID-19.

State Sen. Cathy Osten, a Democrat who represents the area, told The Day that the decision to shut down the facility was made “because of serious systematic problems in the nursing home, not just because of infection control problems.”

The home's approximately 60 residents are expected to be transferred to other Connecticut nursing homes.

In other news related to the pandemic:

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PRISON WARD

Connecticut officials have moved a coronavirus isolation unit for inmates to another prison after discovering that prisoners were hiding symptoms to avoid going to the maximum-security facility that first housed the unit.

The Department of Correction announced Wednesday that the isolation unit has been moved to the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield from Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. MacDougall-Walker is a high- to maximum-security prison.

Prison officials said there currently are no inmates in the new isolation unit, which is prepared to take prisoners with symptoms immediately, and no inmates have had symptoms since Sept. 2. Seven prisoners statewide who have tested positive for the coronavirus but don't have symptoms are being isolated at their existing prisons.

Since the pandemic began, 1,500 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus and seven have died, according to Correction Department data. The state prison population is nearly 9,500.

Correction Department Commissioner Angel Quiros said MacDougall-Walker was chosen based on its modern infrastructure, which is able to adhere to federal guidelines on how to care for prisoners during the pandemic.

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FOOTBALL STILL CANCELED

Officials with the organization that oversees high school sports in Connecticut have once again voted to cancel the fall football season.

The decision comes after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference failed to convince state health officials in a meeting last week that it could mitigate the risk of players spreading the new coronavirus by using face shields and requiring other safety protocols.

“Our effort was to do as much as we could to be able to play this fall,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said. “It was evident that in order for us to play this fall we were going to have to find a strategy that would re-categorize the sport out of the higher risk classification and we just weren’t able to do that.”

Lungarini said the board could consider allowing a football season later in the school year and this week will discuss some alternative to full-contact football for this fall.

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Associated Press writer Dave Collins contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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