Two residents of a Craftsbury elder home have died after both testing positive in an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

One resident of Craftsbury Community Care Center, a woman over age 90, died Christmas Day, state Department of Health spokesperson Ben Truman said. The other resident, a man over age 70, died last Tuesday.

Both deaths were associated with the coronavirus, Truman said, and were the only COVID-19-related deaths in Orleans County between Dec. 21 and Sunday.

“These (details) are statistical, but when I write about them or Dr. Levine talks about it, we honestly don’t forget they were people who lived, were loved and will be missed,” Truman said.

Penelope Doherty, a board member at the senior living facility, confirmed the deaths.

As of last Wednesday, 28 people had been connected to the outbreak at the center, with 15 residents and 13 staff members testing positive for the virus.

That meant nearly two-thirds of the 24-bed senior living facility’s residents had contracted the virus. The nonprofit care facility reported the first positive test results Dec. 11.

For most of December, the case rate in Craftsbury exceeded 80 per 10,000 people — one of the top rates in the state that month.

State officials said last week they believed the spread had been contained and linked no community uptick in COVID cases to the outbreak.

Doherty, whose mother lives at the facility, said one of the residents who died had been hospitalized after testing positive. The other, she said, had been battling preexisting health challenges before testing positive. After the test result, that second resident decided to enter hospice care, Doherty said.

Neither Truman nor the board member could provide specifics about the residents’ identities.

Asked if officials have any sense of when residents of the care facility could receive vaccinations, Truman said the state is working to finalize the next groups for vaccinations, “probably as soon as this week.”

Read more at VTDigger.org (Two Craftsbury care center residents die in Covid outbreak).

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