Local hospitals, health organizations prep for surge in coronavirus patients with more screenings, field hospitals


(WTNH) — Hospitals across Connecticut are gearing up for a possible surge in coronavirus patients as the outbreak continues to spread across the state.

RELATED: Field hospitals, first-responders housing now offered at CT universities, public entertainment venues

Bristol Health is one of them. The hospital is screening employees at the door and has plans for possible overflow of patients.

And inside Bristol Hospital’s entrance, stringent screenings for every employee reporting to the front lines of this pandemic: hands clean, temperature taken.

David Koscuk, Director of Bristol Health Emergency Management explained the policy now allows the hospital “to pause on individuals coming directly into our building.”

A heavy-duty blue tarp tent has been installed just outside Bristol Hospital’s emergency room. It’ll be used to screen patients with COVID-19 symptoms. And, in case of a surge, Koscuk says, it can be converted into a space to house hospital beds or used for other triage needs.

Lines at the hospital’s drive-thru testing center – one of the first to open in the state – has been swamped since they opened with hundreds of people lining up to get tested for the highly-contagious virus.

Officials say, with more people looking to be tested, they’ve been able to cut down on the time it takes for results to come back. The goal: to keep as many people as possible out of the emergency department and hospital in general as possible.

Safety and preparation for whatever comes next.

In addition to Bristol Health, a new mobile field hospital that has been set up on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford on Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: Mobile field hospital set up outside Hartford’s Saint Francis Hospital

Yale Health, too, has set up a field hospital in Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium in New Haven. The station is set up to treat only those students and employees, and family of employees related to Yale University who become sick if the Yale Health Center becomes overrun with COVID-19 patients.

While most of the Undergraduate students were sent home amid the coronavirus outbreak, the university says most of its Graduate and professional students and staff are still in the area.

The field hospital was set up as a precaution, but if necessary, it could be activated to handle patients from the Yale community who cannot be treated at the health center. 

Dr. Tara C. Smith, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Kent State University posted a picture of Yale’s Payne Whitney gym ‘field hospital’ over the weekend. She posted that picture side-by-side with a black-and-white photo from 1918 as an example of the same kind of field hospital erected “in warehouses, gyms, and any other large room to house influenza patients.”

For more information about Yale’s field hospital: https://news.yale.edu/2020/03/21/yale-leaders-talk-about-covid-19-yale-health-director-dr-paul-genecin

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