Connecticut hospitals brace for COVID wave as hospitalizations hit over 1,000


(WTNH) — During the Thanksgiving holiday, Connecticut hit the dark milestone – 1,000 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and we still have other holidays ahead of us. News 8 takes a look at Saint Francis Hospital with a look at the health of the healthcare system.

“People need to think about what it was like in March and April. It was bad! Our hospitals were effectively closed to everything except very sick patients and COVID hospitlizations,” Dr. David Shapiro, Trinity Health.

During the first wave, hospitals canceled all nonessential surgeries and procedures. This time around as the second surge is filling beds, they are going to try as hard as they can to keep everything business as usual.

“We now want to be able to continue to work and treat patients. People don’t want to get behind on their cancer treatment or other things. What we want to do is make sure that all people are the safest they can be,” Dr. Shapiro adds.

The medical community remembers what it was like during the first wave – the long hours in the hospital and not being able to return home at the end of the day.

“We are having to keep away from our families in the coming weeks and the coming days, but all in all I think staffing in hospitals is really good,” Keith Grant, Hartford Healthcare.

Reaching 1,000 hospitalizations is the halfway mark to where we were during the first peek.

“There will be strain across the system. Will it be one hospital versus another? No. It will be all of us. We will all feel the strain, we will all deal with staffing and we will share resources as much as possible,” Dr. Shapiro.

During the first wave, the governor got all the hospitals together- from Nuvance to Yale to Hartford Healthcare and Trinity- to make sure that if they did not have enough beds at Saint Francis, they could transfer them throughout the system.

“We are seeing the ability to manage is still there. Again we are a big system. Trinity as well is a big system so the ability to shift around we have that capability that not a lot of systems have,” Grant says.

And while the medical system is adapting and changing with what they have learned from the first wave, they are still bracing for impact.

“Well we know a lot more than we did several months ago, which means we know the dangers even more. We know who can die, we know how many people die. We know what percentage of mortality we expect to see. We know how to use the ventilators a little bit better, but that means we are using ventilators on you. You don’t want a plastic tube down your throat, you don’t want to be breathing on a machine,” Dr. Shapiro says.

Doctors are asking you to please do your part – wear your mask and help flatten the curve as we used to say in the spring.

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