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Health officials: Connecticut hospitals able to keep up with COVID-19 patients, for now

Hospitals say they're feeling hopeful about the COVID-19 vaccine, as it could prevent a critical shortage of health care workers.

News 12 Staff

Dec 8, 2020, 11:15 PM

Updated 1,290 days ago

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Hospitals say they're feeling hopeful about the COVID-19 vaccine, as it could prevent a critical shortage of health care workers.
"We're far better today than we were in the spring because there's been so many innovations put in place," says Hartford HealthCare president and CEO Jeff Flaks.
In a roundtable Tuesday, health care leaders said they still have plenty of room.
Statewide, hospitals are only 73% full. Intensive care units are doing even better, with only half occupied.
It's a far cry from this spring, when patients stayed in the hospital longer and needed more ventilators.
"We are now oxygenating people with a different strategy. We were very quick to intubate; we are less quick to do that now - supplying oxygen by high-flow hoods, which don't require ICU care," says Nuvance Health president and CEO Dr. John Murphy.
For now, there are no plans to limit elective surgeries. But hospitals are worried about a critical shortage of testing and running out of workers.
"Their staff - many of them are exhausted by the hours, but also the emotional trauma of living through this crisis," says Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Hospital workers will start getting vaccinated next week, which should cut down on staffing shortages.
"We want to vaccinate the vaccinators - you know, our staff, our front-line staff," says Murphy.
Hospitals are also struggling financially, but help may be on the way. Blumenthal says Congress could pass $35 billion in aid by next week.


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