Keene Center

An outbreak at Keene Center on Court Street has infected dozens of people and resulted in at least three deaths.

Roughly 75 percent of Keene Center’s resident population has tested positive for COVID-19, and three residents have died from complications of the disease, amid an outbreak of the virus at the Court Street nursing home.

Eight more residents of Keene Center had become infected as of Monday, according to Lori Mayer, a spokeswoman for Genesis Healthcare, which owns Keene Center and several other area nursing homes. She also confirmed Monday that two additional residents died due to complications of the disease, bringing the total to three.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by COVID-19 during this difficult time,” she said in an email.

Mayer declined to say when the residents died or whether they were at the center or hospitalized, citing patient confidentiality.

Those newly announced cases bring the total to 59 residents and 15 staff members since the outbreak began in late December.

The case numbers — now accounting for about three-fourths of Keene Center’s resident population — have increased rapidly since Genesis confirmed the outbreak in response to a Sentinel inquiry on Jan. 8. As of that evening, 18 residents and two staff members had tested positive, according to the company.

Keene Center has about 80 residents and 115 staff members.

Long-term care facilities are especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials have said. The virus is known to travel quickly through congregate-living settings — such as nursing homes — due to the proximity of residents, many of whom have underlying health conditions.

And New Hampshire long-term care facilities have been hit the hardest in the country, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, with deaths from long-term care facilities making up about 76 percent of the state’s total.

To date, 707 of New Hampshire’s 933 COVID-19-related deaths have been connected with long-term care facilities, and, as of Sunday, 5,257 people from those facilities had tested positive for the disease, according to the state health department’s latest data.

Nine COVID-related deaths involved residents of Cheshire County, according to the state’s data; it is unclear whether that tally includes any or all of the deaths from Keene Center.

To prevent the virus from spreading further, Mayer said the nursing home has been separating residents with COVID-19 from those who aren’t infected.

This is on top of other safety protocols, including daily COVID-19 testing and canceling all outside medical appointments, except those that are necessary.

Keene Center residents and staff began receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 30 through a partnership with CVS Pharmacy.Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.