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Surge in COVID hospitalizations not leading to bed shortage

HARTFORD (AP) — Statewide hospital officials say the recent surge in COVID-19-related admissions is not expected to lead to a shortage of beds.

Jeff Flaks, president and chief executive officer at Hartford HealthCare, said detailed plans have been developed during the pandemic identifying spaces that can be used if needed to increase capacity at their seven acute-care hospitals.

Dr. Tom Balcezak, chief clinical officer at Yale New Haven Heath, which runs five acute-care hospitals in the state with about 2,500 beds, said they also have capacity to move patients around in their system. He said the state’s various hospital networks also would work together, should it become necessary, to share capacity and move patients around the state if one region becomes overwhelmed.

Balcezak said a key difference between now and the start of the pandemic is that vaccinations have led to fewer patients requiring ICU beds and ventilators.

On Tuesday, his system had 663 COVID-19 patients, with 95 in the intensive care unit and 62 on ventilators.

“And anecdotally across our ICUs, we couldn’t find a single person who was vaccinated and boosted, except for one patient who had severe cancer and was immunocompromised at the time that they got their booster.”

Statewide, there were 1,676 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, an increase of 114 from Tuesday. Of those in the hospital, 1,128 were not fully vaccinated, the governor’s office said.

Hospital officials said they’ve also been able to handle COVID-unrelated work without disruption during the surge, despite staffing shortages. Hartford HealthCare reported about 600 of its 30,000 workers out sick with the virus on Wednesday.

“We have had a handful of patients cancel surgery each day because they are testing positive, or in a few instances we’ve had surgeons or the proceduralist physicians test positive. But it’s been a very small number of cancelations that have occurred,” Flaks said.


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