Updated March 12
Hartford HealthCare is restricting visitation to its seven-hospital network and prohibiting visitors, with few exceptions, to its skilled-nursing facility as a precaution during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“These are unprecedented times,” said President and CEO Jeff Flaks, above, at a March 10 news conference at the Hartford HealthCare
Care Logistics Center in Newington, now serving as its COVID-19 Clinical Command Center. “We are asking people across the entire healthcare system to work through issues that were almost impossible to plan for.”
The restrictions, effective immediately, allow one visitor per patient at each hospital. (On March 12, those restrictions were expanded to include no visitors under age 16.)
“Visitors will be screened for symptoms or travel,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Medical Officer.
Kumar also said visitors to nursing-home patients will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances, such as visits to patients in end-of-life care.
Dr. Daniel Kombert, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Clinical Officer, also directed the public to Hartford HealthCare as a source of accurate information during this health crisis. Last week, Hartford HealthCare launched a hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600) as a 24-hour information source with a staff that includes medical professionals. Already, it has received more than 1,000 calls from clinicians and consumers across the country.
At the news conference, Hartford HealthCare also announced a text-alert system for the latest developments available by texting 31996, with “Covid19” in the message field. (Hartford HealthCare already has a web page devoted to coronavirus. Click here.)
“We live in an amazing time,” said Dr. Kombert. “The public has an enormous amount of information at their fingertips. The sad thing is a lot of the information they are getting — particularly from the Internet — is wrong. We are updating our information continuously.”
At a March 11 news conference, Hartford HealthCare officials announced a pilot program for both virtual and drive-through COVID-19 assessments. Patients would first contact the hotline, allowing a medical professional to determine if a virtual visit is required. A doctor at the Clinical Command Center could order tests at a local center where a clinician could take a sample with a nose swab. The patient would then be sent home to await test results.
“Individuals who might have some symptoms or a travel history can drive up to a location and be tested without having to step out of the car,” said Dr. Kumar.
Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.
Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.
Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.
Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.