Doctors trying to keep COVID patients out of the ICU as CT hospitalizations continue to rise


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As of Wednesday, 374 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, and based on recent trends, that number is only estimated to grow.

While local hospitals are nowhere near capacity, staff are more prepared now for the pandemic than they were months ago.

“We are definitely seeing more cases in the hospital,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani with Yale Medicine. “Some people are very sick.”

In the spring, hospitals shut down routine care and canceled nonessential surgeries because they didn’t know what to expect with the virus. Now, doctors are hoping that won’t happen again.

“We are trying not to do that this time around because we know there is such a need and backlog of things that people didn’t get to have done,” Juthani explained. “But, what that means is we are running at capacity with full clinics and full hospitals, and on top of that, having COVID-19 patients coming in.”

“Obviously, capacity could be a constraint especially in the ICU critical care,” added Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer at Hartford HealthCare. “But this time…the way we [are] managing the patients we’ve seen less than more patients being in the ICU.”

At Hartford HealthCare, they keep a close eye on the number of available beds. They have more than 50 COVID patients in Hartford Hospital alone, but they also have a unique wing that allows them to treat the severely sick.

“We created a wonderful observation unit, which is quite well fitted and can convert [to] the ICU level it needs to be,” Kumar explained.

The more we learn about the virus, how to treat it and  how to keep people out of the ICU , the more questions come up. Now, researchers are looking at the possibility that over the last six-eight months the virus is changing, and one of the theories is that COVID-19 has mutated.

“This virus that is circulating now is a slightly different changed virus that is more infectious and less deadly,” said Dr. Thomas Balcezak with Yale New Haven Health System. “That’s pure speculation.”

Governor Lamont is asking people to observe a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to help slow the spread. It is recommended but it is not being enforced.

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