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New London detox facility halts admissions after staffer is hospitalized with suspected COVID-19

New London — The Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. announced Monday that it was halting admissions into its detox facility at 47 Coit St. because a staff member there was hospitalized with a suspected case of COVID-19.

SCADD Chief Executive Officer Stacey Lawton announced the news in a statement Monday and said she anticipates the facility would not be taking any admissions until April 18. Lawton said the decision was made after consultation with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Ledge Light Health District, SCADD’s Medical Director and staff.

“We make this decision with a preponderance of caution to ensure the safety of our clients and our staff,” Lawton said.

The agency was informed Saturday that a member of its medical staff was hospitalized with the suspected case of COVID-19. Nine staff members had contact with the ill person and were ordered to begin a two-week quarantine, Lawton said.

It was also determined that two clients had contact with the individual and accommodations were made to refer those clients to another program with an out-of-state quarantine facility.

“This event came upon us quickly and while we hoped it would not occur, it happened despite the extensive cautionary measures our agency put in place. We will continue to monitor this program and it remains our strongest hope that we can resume services there by April 18,” Lawton said.

SCADD’s facility in New London accommodates 20 people. It also operates several other programs in New London, Norwich and Lebanon.

SCADD President Jack Malone said there were four other people at the facility over the past week but they did not have direct contact with the hospitalized medical staff member. Two were informed and SCADD is trying to reach two others.

Malone said the Coit Street facility has been cleaned and disinfected and staff are still working because there are people suffering from the disease of addiction who still need help.

“We have an obligation to help them in any way we can,” Malone said.

Those seeking help from SCADD can still contact staff by calling (860) 447-1717. Referrals to SCADD Telehealth services and other recovery support assistance will be provided.

SCADD started a 10-bed detox program in New London in 1967 and later moved and expanded to its Coit Street location.

“Hurricanes, blizzards, blackouts have never forced us to close our doors. We’re not closing now but we can’t take admissions. Because of the nature of this pandemic we have to take precautions,” Malone said. “We anxiously await and hope that a 14-day period is sufficient.”

g.smith@theday.com

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