A new COVID-19 recovery center at the Connecticut Convention Center is almost ready for patients, local health officials said.
The center is run by Hartford HealthCare and the Connecticut National Guard
The infrastructure for the auxiliary hospital is in place at the convention center. Over the next few days, the team at the center will run through preparation drills and rehearsals with the goal to be ready for patients within a couple of weeks, according to Hartford HealthCare Medical Group President Mark Prete
The convention center is to be used as an auxiliary locations for patients recovering from COVID-19 in case there's a surge. Patients who do not require ventilators or more intensive care can receive IVs, oxygen and treatment at the site, Hartford HealthCare officials said.
"This is for patients that still have some symptoms and still require some medical care, things like IVs, things like oxygen," said Connecticut National Guard Public Affairs Officer Captain David Pytlik. "This isn't for patients that are highly acute or they require ventilators.
Hartford HealthCare officials said Wednesday that the additional location would not be used in the next few days but will provide flexibility for the hospital as the crisis continues.
"As a fellow member of the National Guard, I was honored to be standing with them," Prete said.
Patients who are recovering and convalescing from COVID-19 treatment at the main Hartford Hospital facility could be transferred here, Prete said.
As of Wednesday morning, Hartford HealthCare had 386 COVID-19 positive patients being treated in its system, including 181 at Hartford Hospital.
"We are still not out of the woods yet," said Dr. Ajay Kumar, the chief clinical officer at Hartford HealthCare.
Kumar said he expects to see an "uptick" in new cases through the end of April and into early May.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city cannot become complacent since new cases and hospitalizations continue to occur every day.
"We have not yet reached the peak," Mayor Bronin said.
Hartford is expecting to see a doubling in cases every week right now, according to the mayor.
"We're still in the early part of the curve," the mayor said.
Hartford HealthCare had 24 new patients begin treatment in the hospital system in the last 24 hours, Kumar said, but said the average is around 10 new admissions per day.
"We're still right in the middle of this," Bronin said.
Pytlik said members of the Guard are honored to be able to set up this hospital in the their community.
"We were born here, our kids go to school here," Pytlik said.
Officials added that the site will be staffed by Hartford HealthCare doctors, nurses, therapists and patient support personnel.
The auxiliary hospital was set up in seven hours.
"To the men and women of the Connecticut National Guard, I cannot thank you enough," Bronin said.