A local health official believes the peak of coronavirus infections in Connecticut will happen later this month into early May -- later than the doctor’s network initially predicted.
On March 25, Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer for Hartford HealthCare, said the number of cases was expected to peak in early April.
Fifteen days later, he has revised that, saying it likely will come toward the end of this month.
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“In early March, we were predicting that early April was the time we would see peak, but we put together a lot of social distancing measures, so peak has been delayed and pretty much all of the models are predicting a later peak at this time,” Kumar said.
Kumar did say people can do better at social distancing -- he’s discouraging gatherings of any kind for this weekend’s Easter holiday, for instance.
He said he expects a gradual rise to the highest amount of cases.
Right now, Hartford HealthCare said it’s treating 310 patients confirmed to have COVID-19 in its hospitals around the state.
Protecting ‘Front-Line’ Workers
Kumar announced Thursday that masks were to be distributed to every worker in the Hartford HealthCare network in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“Initially, we had given it to all the clinical members who are patient-facing or interacting with the patients,” Kumar said.
“Now, it’s going to be all members -- whether they’re patient-facing or not -- will get a mask at this time.”
That includes people who work in billing and information technology.
Kumar was asked on a call with reporters about how many masks the network had in stock -- including highly coveted N95 respirator masks -- but he declined to comment other than to say it had an “adequate supply.”
In March, Kumar confirmed that in certain circumstances, N95s in short supply could be used more than once, even though they’re intended for a single use. That came days after another doctor in the network said masks were “in good supply.”
If employees are exposed to the virus, those who are asymptomatic may not be tested because test kits are limited, according to Kumar. Instead, those workers may be asked to quarantine at home.