COVID-19 is changing the way we do our work as journalists. Hartford HealthCare is now holding briefings over Facebook to avoid having the media come together.
As cases here in the state soar into the hundreds, Hartford HealthCare officials warn things will get worse in the coming weeks.
“This is a community spread right now. It is happening in all the areas of Connecticut right now,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer, Hartford HealthCare.
One of the state’s largest medical groups on the front-lines of the COVID-19 outbreak is taking drastic measures to free up hospital beds and prepare for more cases.
Elective surgeries have been postponed and that move alone has freed up about 200 patient rooms. And many patients have moved to virtual appointments.
“It is going to get worse a little bit. We are going to see increased cases over the next several weeks,” said Kumar.
The COVID-19 hotline is fielding some 2,000 calls a day. Connecticut now has 12 drive-through testing sites, mostly for the high-risk population.
Several dozen healthcare workers are also being tested.
One key issue, Hartford HealthCare needs more equipment: masks, personal protective equipment supplies, and gloves. Some in the community have stepped up to make donations and state officials are working on additional options but the need is now.
“The production is not up to speed at this time and that’s creating delays as well,” said Kumar.
Doctors at Hartford Hospital have noticed that many COVID-19 patients are presenting with symptoms other than fever and throat pain. Symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. So that is now part of Hartford HealthCare’s series of questions they are asking people to determine who should be tested.
If you have questions about coronavirus, Hartford HealthCare can help. You can call their 24-hour hotline, the number is (860) 972-8100. You can also call toll free at (833) 621-0600. To get text message push notifications, text 31996 and put COVID-19 in the message field.