CT hospitals concerned about December staffing as numbers of COVID-19 patients rise


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hospitals in Connecticut are watching more COVID-19 patients being admitted just as the holidays are here. A big concern is having their medical staff overwhelmed because there are no other systems that can spare help right now.

“The strain is so virulent in so many parts of the country that nobody is loaning out staff. They don’t have nurses and PA’s and others to send to many, many, many of the hotspot areas,” says Marna Borgstrom, President and CEO of Yale New Haven Health System.

It was revealed at a news conference on Tuesday that Yale New Haven Hospital‘s ICU is at 80% capacity. While they are seeing the same number of COVID-19 patients as they did in late March, some factors are different.

“The number of patients that are on ventilators is slightly less and that really represents improvement and knowledge by our critical care physicians. We are using more high flow oxygen and less intubation than we have in the past,” says Dr. Thomas Balcezak, Chief Medical Officer of Yale New Haven Hospital.

Dr. Balcezak says other efforts such as turning patients over and treating them with steroids have also helped.

“Has resulted in a lower mortality rate, pretty substantially lower mortality rate numbers that we’ve shared in previous news conferences,” he says.

He adds that it is no time to let our guards down.

COVID-19 testing has become very sought after. Hartford HealthCare just opened a drive-thru site at parking lot 3 at Bradley International Airport, but one doctor warns that testing will not keep you completely safe.

“A test can be helpful but it does not mean that you’re capable of spreading this virus, so all of the precautions that need to be taken as we move into the holidays are critical to control this,” says Dr. James Cardon, Chief Clinical Integration Officer with Hartford HealthCare.

Dr. Cardon says that keeping our hospitals from being inundated is the personal responsibility we all have to keep one another safe.

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