MERIDEN — Hartford HealthCare, the parent provider of MidState Medical Center in Meriden, announced that drive-through testing for COVID-19 will start Wednesday at the hospital. Hartford Healthcare will also be increasing visitor restrictions and limiting elective surgeries.
The drive-through will allow a patient with symptoms and possible exposure to be tested without leaving their vehicle. To be tested, patients must have a referral from a provider through Hartford HealthCare Medical Group.
Testing began at Hartford Hospital on Monday and was also scheduled to start at sites in Norwich, Bridgeport and Torrington today.
“The testing capacity we’re unsure off,” said Dr. Keith Grant, senior system director for Infection Prevention at Hartford HealthCare.
“We’re set up to manage the numbers we’ve predicted at this point. Our testing capability has a lot to do with our lab partners.”
Testing kits have remained in short supply in the U.S., leading to uncertainty of the number of actual cases. Connecticut recently received new testing kits.
“Without a doubt, I can tell you right now the number we are seeing is low only because” the number of people tested is low, said Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief medical officer for Hartford HealthCare. “We've had trouble getting testing abilities in the state. I know the governor has been working feverishly to increase the supply.”
On the first day of testing in Hartford, the center processed 26 people. They expect more than 100 today, Kumar said.
The test takes less than five minutes and is administered by a physician or nurse outfitted in protective clothing.
The clinician swabs the patient’s nose and throat, collecting a sample that will be sent for evaluation. Patients receive their results in four days.
Effective March 18, Hartford Healthcare is canceling community education classes, restricting visitation and reducing the number of entrances its hospital facilities due to COVID-19.
Emergency Department: No visitors past triage
Labor & Delivery: 1 support person for entire stay
Inpatient Hospital: No visitors – Exceptions to be made for end of life, patient safety and family teaching at the discretion of hospital leadership.
NICU: 1 visitor at a time from pre-approved list
Ambulatory Surgery and Same-day Procedures: No visitors – Visitors will be asked to drop patients off and provide a contact number for pickup post-procedure/surgery
Outpatient Visits: No visitors – No age restriction for outpatient visits, Visitors will be asked to drop patients off and provide a contact number for pickup post-procedure/surgery
HHC skilled nursing facilities: No visitors
Visitors are asked NOT to visit the hospital if they are ill or have symptoms of cold or flu.
No visitors are allowed under the age of 18.
No entrance allowed for anyone visiting our campuses for non hospital-related services like dining.
Hartford Healthcare is also also rescheduling elective surgeries to help limit the spread of the coronavirus as part of the hospital group’s precautions being taken in conjunction with CDC, statewide healthcare organizations and Hartford HealthCare’s COVID-19 Task Force.