What to Know
- Hartford Healthcare is conducting health screening for anyone who visits their seven acute care facilities.
- Hartford Healthcare's seven hospitals and St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury are limiting patients to one visitor at a time.
- The Department of Public Health ordered all nursing and rest homes to restrict visitors unless there are special circumstances, such as end-of-life care or hospice care.
Visitor restrictions are in place across Connecticut hospitals and nursing homes as public health agencies continue to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, a respiratory illness caused by a new virus commonly referred to as COVID-19.
Hartford Healthcare enacted new visitor restrictions Wednesday. Anyone who visits one of Hartford Healthcare's seven acute care facilities will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
Hartford Healthcare's acute care facilities include:
- Backus Hospital (Norwich)
- Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (Torrington)
- Hartford Hospital (Hartford)
- The Hospital of Central Connecticut (New Britain)
- MidState Medical Center (Meriden)
- St. Vincent's Medical Center (Bridgeport)
- Windham Hospital (Willimantic)
Visitors at all of the seven hospitals will be asked if they have traveled recently, been on a cruise ship, are experiencing flu-like symptoms and if they have been in contact with anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms.
A member of the hospital staff will also check every visitor's temperature. Anyone with a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees will not be able to visit a patient.
"We are looking for cough, fever and difficultly breathing," explained Donna Handley, president of the East Region for Hartford HealthCare.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Hartford HealthCare is also limiting entrances at their hospitals to make it easier to monitor visitors. Additionally, they are asking all employees to self-screen and practice social distancing, limiting meeting sizes and avoiding crowds. Each hospital hosts an incident command center to monitor for issues and plan.
"This is something that we need to be very aware of. It is much better to be prepared," said Handley. "This is an effort to keep the virus from coming into our hospital."
Dr. Ajay Kumar, executive vice president of Hartford HealthCare, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that they anticipate the visitation restrictions to be in place for several weeks.
"The restrictions will be lifted if things change," Kumar said.
St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury also announced visitor restrictions. They are limiting patients to one visitor at a time. No visitor under the age of 14 is allowed.
Separate from visitor restrictions at various hospitals, the Department of Public Health ordered a sweeping ban of visitors at nursing and rest homes across the state.
According to the World Health Organization, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
In an announcement Monday, DPH directed all chronic and convalescent nursing home and rest homes with nursing supervision to restrict visitors unless there are special circumstances, such as end-of-life care or hospice care. In those cases, the facility may allow visitors as long as appropriate CDC-recommended protective equipment is used and when the resident meets the criteria based on exposure to COVID-19.
The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.
Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTVOID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.
You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.