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Hartford HealthCare: “Critical weeks” ahead in fight against COVID-19

Dr. Kumar said “We think we are going to hit the peak in Connecticut sometime at the end of April and first week of May… sometime around the 5th or 6th of May.”
Hartford healthcare

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford Healthcare held a press conference Monday, where officials provided an update on the COVID-19 outbreak and the impact within its health system.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, the Chief Clinical Officer for Hartford Healthcare said officials are seeing about a 10-15% increase everyday in the number of patients who are COVID-19 positive or persons under investigation, or PUI.

“Today, our number is 254 positive across the Hartford Healthcare system and 113 PUI. Mind you these numbers include our community network and behavioral network as well,” Dr. Kumar said.

According to Dr. Kumar, 101 patients are COVID-19 positive at Hartford Hospital, and there is an increase in patients testing positive for the disease at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in our St. Vincent volume,” Dr. Kumar said.

So far, nearly 80 people have recovered, according to Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar explained when a “peak” can be expected in Connecticut, and said currently their predictions are slightly different than what has been presented at the national level.

“We think we are going to hit the peak in Connecticut sometime at the end of April and first week of May… sometime around the 5th or 6th of May,” said Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar also spoke about the future preparedness of the hospital system and the “critical week ahead.” “I think we have several critical weeks ahead, not just one week ahead,” said Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar touched on Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, and said it continues to be a challenge, but said their supply chain has done a “tremendous job.”

“Our community has given us a fair amount of donations, which has really helped and I’m quite thankful for that,” said Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar continued to stress the need for social distancing, which can be difficult for those in need of interaction. Colleen Mulkerin from Hartford Healthcare spoke about the importance of staying connected with loved ones during this “unprecedented time” including using voice and video calls.

She also highlighted the resources available to support hospital staff and how people at home can help those on the frontlines.

“Just a simple thank you. Coming home from work one night, one of my neighbors had a beautiful heart out in her yard and it really made all the difference when you’re tired and you see those thank you notes,” said Mulkerin. “Sometimes it’s just the little things to support health care workers, and as Dr. Kumar mentioned maintaining the social distancing.”

Mulkerin included advice for family members with loved ones in the hospital.

“Help us get to know them. Tell us the favorite music they like to hear and what TV station should be turned on and how we can make them connected to the things that we can do virtually when we can’t do physical presence,” Mulkerin said.