HARTFORD, Conn. — Big news Tuesday in the fight against COVID in the Capitol city. The city of Hartford, Hartford Healthcare, and LAZ Parking are teaming up to make testing more accessible. During the height of the pandemic, you might remember the Connecticut Convention Center was set up as a makeshift field hospital. Now it will be transformed into a COVID testing site.
Hartford is under a COVID red alert. As the need for testing grows, Hartford Hospital is doubling its testing capacity. Hartford Healthcare CEO Jeff Flacks said, "Today is a tremendous step forward as we fight this pandemic virus." Mayor Luke Bronin said, "Today’s announcement represents a really significant expansion of testing capacity even beyond what they are already doing."
The Connecticut Convention Center will be transformed into an indoor COVID testing site. Right now, at their permanent testing site on Hudson Street, they have a capacity for 1,700 tests a week. At the convention center, it will be 4,000. "To everybody out there. To residents of Hartford and the Hartford region to residents of Connecticut. A part of beating and suppressing this virus is getting tested," remarked Mayor Bronin.
Hartford Hospital realized the demand was outpacing its capacity on Hudson Street and winter snow would make access more challenging. "We have three to 400 cars that can back up. We realized that we needed to create more lanes. Create more ways to care for more people," said Flacks.
It’s the most accurate test you can get, with quick results. Keith Grant in the infection prevention department of Hartford Hospital said, "A few months ago you are looking at a few days. Right now, I think the average turnaround time is just about 24 hours."
But we know testing only works if it’s backed up by contact tracers. According to the data tracking website COVID Act Now, CT only has only 37% of the contact tracers it needs. Speaking for Hartford's efforts Mayor Bronin said, "In Hartford, we have built a robust contact tracing effort. We were able to secure some significant grant funding to build that firm the CDC Foundation and other sources. We have a couple of dozen contact tracers who are working are the city. They speak multiple languages."
This new testing site will be open seven days a week from 8:00 AM-4:00 PM beginning November 9th.