National Guard sets up additional beds at UConn Health for potential coronavirus patients


FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — UConn Health is doubling capacity as Hartford County prepares for a potential surge of coronavirus patients. As you can imagine, that takes a lot of manpower.

Three and a half years ago, UConn Health moved into a new building on a sprawling Farmington campus. Now, Guardsmen and women are converting this old hospital into a working hospital for Covid-19 patients.

It takes a lot of man power to prepare for a potential influx of coronavirus patients and that’s what the Connecticut National Guard spent Monday working on at UConn Health.

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“Helping us to open up 136 surge capacity beds, which along with another 100, which we can potentially open, will essentially double the size of our hospital,” said Andrew Agwunobi, CEO UConn Health.

Governor Ned Lamont has called on the guard to set up recovery centers for covid-19 patients at Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities and most recently at the Convention Center in downtown Hartford.

“I’ve been doing this for about 14 years and this is certainly unprecedented during my tenure,” said David Pytlik, CT National Guard.

These soldiers are becoming efficient at expanding hospital capacity. In Farmington, they’re setting up dorm beds from UConn’s Storrs campus inside of old hospital space.

This move started in Fairfield county where Connecticut continues to see the highest numbers of patients.

“First in Stamford increasing some beds there. Now here and different other sites,” said Pytlik.

Meanwhile, UConn Health says it still needs more personal protective equipment for health workers. but continues to do what it can to keep them safe.

“We screen all employees coming into this building both with temperature and questions,” said Agwunobi.

As of Monday, UConn Health is treating more than 30 Covid-19 patients. There are another seven patients waiting on test results.

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