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Hartford Hospital prepares for Coronavirus surge and signals concern over test result turnaround time

Hartford Hospital has had 43 positive tests for Coronavirus. 12 patients are admitted.
Hartford Hospital

HARTFORD, Conn. — HARTFORD — The Hartford Hospital system says they are preparing for a surge. They just recorded their first Coronavirus death, and slow turnaround times for test results are becoming frustrating.

Right now, Hartford Hospital has had 43 positive tests for Coronavirus. 12 patients are admitted. They say they are making contingency plans and preparing for a surge. “There’s no question there is a component of fear and reflection,” said Jim Cardon, the Chief Clinical Integration Officer for Hartford Healthcare.

With Hartford Hospital announcing their first death from the Coronavirus, Dr. Cardon told FOX61 about the emotional toll the Coronavirus is taking on healthcare workers. “There’s a seriousness about everybody’s work and a complete commitment. I think we all recognize that although these are very challenging times, that it’s what we signed up for...It is going to be stressful and everybody is doing their best to manage all of these complex emotions. The loss of our first patient maybe brought everything a little more home.“

Knowing the worst is likely still ahead of them, the Hartford Healthcare network is preparing for what they call a surge. “We are preparing for the worst with the hopes that we would not have to go down that route so looking at ensuring that we have adequate space, staff and supplies,” said Dr. Cardon.

They are leveraging both commercial labs and state resources. Hartford Healthcare has performed over 1,000 tests. But 60% of them are still pending with turnaround times that range from 48 hours to five days. “Turnaround time has been quite variable. It is a challenge and some of the delay that we’ve articulated is because of the surge in testing. These tests do take some time.“

FOX61 asked Dr. Cardon if Hartford Hospital was working to secure a supply of Chloroquine. The malaria drug anecdotally shown to help COVID-19 patients. “The science is still evolving obviously. There are still unknowns about the effectiveness and risks of that but yes we are looking to secure supplies so that we can use it in the appropriate way should that become a recommendation.”

Hartford Hospital says right now they have an adequate supply of masks. But are encouraging donations at hartfordhealthcare.org/ppe. They are also making contingency plans to reuse masks in a worst case scenario they hope they won’t have to face