Preparations Expanding as Health Officials Ready for COVID-19 Cases

Connecticut hospitals are considering adding temporary triage units. Additional testing options soon to be available.

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Governor Ned Lamont was joined by several health officials this morning at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. The intent was to reassure the public, the COVID-19 health crisis is one they’ve anticipated and are ready for.

“One of the things we’re trying to remind people every day is hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” said Lamont.

The governor, along with Trinity Health of New England officials, spoke today of a unified effort between state leaders and hospitals, each sending a message of confidence as they face the potential for COVID-19 cases.

“Our staff are trained adequately. Know how to triage patients. Know how to isolate patients to avoid contamination and infection of other people,” said Dr. John Rodis, President of St. Francis Hospital.

Being considered by hospitals are temporary triage facilities, which could potentially be installed outside hospitals to screen, evaluate and isolate possible COVID-19 patients.

“We are looking at expanding our triage area such as tents or trailers as long as it’s approved,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer at Hartford Hospital.

Health officials say this approach has been used in other countries including China, Australia and Canada.

Officials at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford also say these temporary triage units are being considered.

“The idea here is keeping them maybe out of the hospitals. Out our the emergency department and more of an isolated area,” explained Rodis.

Testing is also being addressed and improved. Commercial tests will be soon be available directly at hospitals, further expanding and expediting the process.

“Our goal is having as many testing sites as possible because our state lab has limited resources and limited staffing to do all the testing that’s going to be coming about,” said Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell.

Connecticut Children’s is also preparing but wants concern to be at a realistic level.

“Less than 3 percent of all people affected by this we think will be children,” said Connecticut Children’s, Dr. Anand Sekaran.

The Hartford Public School superintendent, Leslie Torres-Rodriguez also spoke today and said plans are in place in the event schools would need to be closed.

“Not all of our families have access to internet capabilities and so it will require us to partner with our community partners, for example the Hartford public Library,” said Torres-Rodriguez.

While preparations are in full swing, health officials want people to remain calm and maintain a realistic understanding of what is happening.

“In the US we’re really at low risk,” said Coleman-Mitchell. “The United States citizens are at low risk at this time.”

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