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Hartford HealthCare Workers Share Experiences Treating Coronavirus Patients

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Hartford Healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic spoke about their experiences on Wednesday.

Hartford HealthCare Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Ajay Kumar was joined by a nurse and a respiratory therapist to discuss their experiences during its daily coronavirus update.

Hartford Hospital Respiratory Therapist Sajjad Raza said he doesn't believe his job has changed during the pandemic, but what has changed is the roles healthcare workers have.

"The job itself hasn't necessarily changed. I think what is challenging now is how to address an ever evolving and changing situation," Raza said.

"From respiratory to nursing to all the other departments that are assisting, everybody has sort of expanded their role in treating these patients, but the level of care has been the same, if not heightened," added Raza.

He said one of the hardest parts has been helping patients during a time where family members and loved ones cannot visit them.

"We don't necessarily do this for any other purpose than to serve, to serve our communities and to serve our patients, their families, their loved ones," Raza said. "So the challenging part is how do you do that in an environment that's now, i'm sure everybody knows, family members can't visit, loved ones can't visit."

He said they have been doing what they can for the patients including using iPads to communicate with family members and by playing a patient's favorite music to help them feel better.

Marisa Serenson is another healthcare worker on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. She is a nurse in the cardiac catheterization lab at Hartford Hospital and is one of 32 nurses from there to be redeployed to the ICU to treat coronavirus patients.

She said she received special training before she could be redeployed to the ICU. Now, she helps with the overall care of the ICU patients including checking ventilators.

"Helping out in the community, helping out as a frontline nurse has been a great experience for me and the community support from my family, my friends, the Hartford Hospital community, with the lunches and the signs and the thanks yous have been wonderful and very much appreciated," Serenson said.

Yesterday, Hartford HealthCare said the state is currently at the top of the peak or plateau for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The state is going to see hospitalizations continue to trend down, however, as more testing is rolled out, we will see an increase in active cases, Kumar said on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations in Connecticut have declined for five straight days, according to data provided by the state Department of Public Health.

The hospitalization rate is the most important metric because it shows the capacity of the hospital systems and whether they will be able to continue to treat patients.

Right now, there are 352 COVID-19 positive patients across the Hartford HealthCare facilities, Kumar added.

More than 1300 patients have received treatment from Hartford HealthCare so far this year for the coronavirus.

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