HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A dark milestone hit Connecticut on Monday: More than 5,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Now, doctors are expecting to see another spike at the end of December.
That is a grim milestone, 5000 deaths, but it is the emotional toll on the doctors, nurses and staff in the hospitals that have to call up families to say, “You’ve lost your family member to COVID-19.”
“Especially when you have multiple cases in one family,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani of Yale Medicine of the emotional toll. “And somebody else has already been lost in a household, and we’re calling to let them know they may be losing another loved one.”
Healing and caregiving are only part of the job in hospitals. Counseling family members through the COVID pain is just as draining, especially when new patients continue to be admitted.
“10, 10, 10 every single day, new patients coming into the hospital, and I don’t see that going down,” Dr. Juthani explained.
And losing a patient is an emotional loss for healthcare workers as well, and then they have to tell the families.
“These are all members of our family, generally not kids, but parents and grandparents, and we will miss them dearly,” Governor Ned Lamont said of the loss Monday.
He said state officials are keeping a close eye on the hospitals, the number of beds, as well as the number of staff they have available.
They were worried about beds at the beginning of the pandemic because they didn’t know how it was going to translate, but now, after they’ve learned a lot over the past eight to 10 months, they know it’s going to come down to staff numbers.
“Several of them have reported staff shortages, in specific skilled areas such as phlebotomist seem to be in an area that is in short supply,” explained Josh Geballe, the State’s Chief Operating Officer.
“We can manufacture ventilators, we can make more beds, but a staffed hospital bed is not the same as a bed you’re lying on your own without anyone to take care of you,” said Dr. Juthani.
A group of healthcare professionals did get together and send a letter to the governor asking him to go back to Phase 1 limitations (shut down restaurants and gyms). The governor said it’s not necessary at this point, but he is keeping a close eye on all of the important metrics.