Connecticut hospital systems respond to growing number of COVID patients


GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s major hospital systems are not at capacity but the surge in COVID cases has them getting stretched thin.

Patient safety is their priority as the number of COVID patients grows by the days and weeks since Thanksgiving.

Yale New Haven Health is currently treating 158 COVID patients. Hartford HealthCare reported it is treating 206 COVID patients at its facilities and operating normally. Both systems report the majority of those COVID patients are not vaccinated against the virus.

“I worry about the numbers going up. In the past two weeks in the state of Connecticut, our COVID numbers have increased 69 percent,” said Dr. Karen Santucci, the Chief Medical Officer at Greenwich Hospital, a Yale New Haven Health facility, referring to the entire system.

“On a daily basis, we are challenged. Our emergency departments are very, very busy. Our floors are very, very busy and our intensive care units are quite busy as well,” Santucci said.

She said they are making sure every patient gets what they need. Staffing is tight too, she said, with early retirements, career changes and staffing at less than what it was at the start of the pandemic.

Doctors blame cold weather, indoor crowding, low humidity, and people traveling for the surge.

Even though therapeutic drugs are on the horizon to treat COVID cases, doctors prefer vaccines.

“Much better to prevent an infection than to be in a position where you’re trying to treat an infection,” Santucci said.

Experts say if you have not gotten a booster shot, schedule it soon to get protection for the holidays.

“People who get boosters over the next few days still will have full coverage from the booster in time for Christmas gatherings so that’s our number one push for today,” said Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare director of systems pharmacy.

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