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Chris Rakoczy / Hartford Hospital

Cliff O’Connell’s future was once pretty murky. By 2019, he’d had kidney disease for 14 years.

Connecticut AFL-CIO (Screengrab)

Essential workers infected by the coronavirus want Connecticut’s workers’ compensation system updated to meet their needs.

Hospitals’ ‘Team Effort’ Reduces Number Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

Feb 25, 2021
The Hospital Central Connecticut is one of only 6 CT hospitals to be financially penalized.
THOCC.org

Six Connecticut hospitals will lose 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements this fiscal year under a federal program that levies penalties for high rates of hospital-acquired injuries and infections.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In anticipation of potential COVID-19 surges in the coming weeks, state officials and health experts are expanding the Hartford region’s hospital bed capacity.

The state National Guard and the Department of Public Health in partnership with Hartford HealthCare are reopening a 600-bed field hospital at the Connecticut Convention Center. They say this is a precautionary move as numbers of cases and hospitalizations continue to generally trend upward. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

More shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived Tuesday at Connecticut hospitals, many of which began immediately vaccinating front-line workers.

That included Ivan Sarmiento, an emergency room registered nurse at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, a member of Trinity Health Of New England. He was cheered on by colleagues as he became the first employee to get a dose shortly before noon. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Surrounded by colleagues underneath a tent that protected them from the freezing rain, Dr. Ajay Kumar rolled up his sleeve as a nurse cleaned the upper part of his arm with an antiseptic wipe.

“Here we go, number one,” someone shouted. 

SIPA VIA AP IMAGES

The federal government could grant emergency use authorization to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next week, potentially getting doses in the hands of Connecticut hospitals by mid-December.

While official statewide distribution plans are still being finalized, health providers do know enough about the upcoming vaccines in order to take some immediate steps in preparation, with little time to spare. 

Hospital leaders say they are better prepared for this second wave of coronavirus cases but they disagree on in ways in which it will be easier than the first wave.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Data show the average length of stay in Connecticut hospitals for COVID-19 patients is about half of what it was in the summer. The Connecticut Hospital Association says COVID patients spent an average of 15 days in the hospital in June. By October, that number had fallen to 7 1/2 days.

As COVID Hospitalizations Rise In CT, Concerns Grow About Staffing, Capacity

Dec 1, 2020
Pamelia Bogle, an anesthesia technician at Hartford Hospital, holds a reassuring heart sign at a celebration for National Nurses Week at Hartford Hospital.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

With state leaders estimating that Connecticut’s winter COVID-19 surge won’t hit its peak until January, concerns about staffing and capacity at hospitals across the state are intensifying.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Connecticut. And although the governor’s office has rolled the state’s reopening back not all municipal leaders think it’s enough.

This hour, we talk with New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, who’s called for a further rollback that would halt indoor dining.  What impact would this have on Elm City businesses?

And we find out how students in New Haven are doing. Most haven’t had in-person school since the spring. 

Are you a New Haven resident? We take your questions and comments for the mayor.

Later in the hour, we check in with Yale New Haven Hospital. With rising cases, how is hospital capacity holding up?

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Health care workers stood along Route 195 out in front of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield Thursday afternoon as they waved signs and used megaphones to demand better workplace protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Updated Thursday at 10:55 a.m. ET

Some U.S. hospitals have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks designed to infect systems for financial gain, federal agencies and a private-sector cybersecurity company warned on Wednesday.

A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat" to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When Debra O’Neall gets home from her overnight shift at a nursing home in Danbury, she removes her scrubs and jumps in the shower before she does anything else.

Later, she settles in on the sofa, turns on the news, picks up a sketchbook from the coffee table and begins to draw.  

Backus Nurses' Union Reaches Deal With Hospital Over New Contract

Oct 22, 2020
Nurses stand on the picket line on Oct. 13 outside Backus Hospital in Norwich. They have asked the hospital to provide sufficient protective gear and offer fair pay to retain experienced workers.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

A union representing more than 400 nurses at Backus Hospital approved by a near-unanimous vote on Wednesday a new, four-year contract that includes pay increases and ends a weeks-long standoff between the hospital and employees that triggered a two-day nurses’ strike.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In raincoats, plastic ponchos and masks, Backus Hospital workers and their families Tuesday lined both sides of Washington Street in Norwich near the facility’s entrance. They held signs, waved to oncoming traffic and chanted.

“Nurses united will never be divided!” 

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

The state Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among staff at Backus Hospital in Norwich, where employees say as many as 11 people have so far tested positive. 

Today, you’re gonna hear from three people who had close encounters with wild animals - and have the scars to prove it.

You’ll hear how - and if - any of these people felt defined by their experiences, and what sense they’ve made out of their encounters. Plus, you’ll hear from a wildlife expert about what animals you should be careful to keep away from here in New England.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Johan Lee Thompson has been a registered nurse for three years at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, a member of Trinity Health of New England.

She was working in the radiology department but was prepared for the possibility of getting redeployed to another area of the hospital because of the pandemic.

“I was ready because I knew COVID was just starting off, and if anything, we thought that our job would be more secure because of it,” she said. “But it was the complete opposite.” 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

What began as some gastric issues last year has now progressed into painful gallstones and chronic problems for Hannah Gebhard, who lives in Naugatuck.

“It was really just a ramping up of the symptoms until I one day landed myself in the emergency room at 2 a.m. because I was in so much pain,” she said. 

A sign outside of Hartford Hospital
Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

Connecticut hospitals, stung by the widespread cancellation of elective procedures, a steep drop in emergency room visits and the need for additional staffing and protective gear to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, stand to lose $1.5 billion this fiscal year.

healthcare workers
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

These past few weeks have brought unprecedented strain for front-line medical workers in Connecticut’s hospitals and nursing homes. It’s also been a period of innovation in the health care industry, as facilities both try to support their staff -- and stretch them far beyond their previous clinical experience.

Branimir Balogović / Pexels.com

You remember what the mother of Mr. Rogers said: Always look for the helpers.

Turns out, they're everywhere. Sometimes they're livestreaming themselves doing great work on social media, sometimes they're in a photo, smiling behind a mask as part of a group of volunteers (spaced six feet apart, of course), and sometimes you never even know they're there.

COVID-19 testing
Kathy Willens / AP Photo

On an average day before the pandemic, the emergency department at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford would be busy with people coming in for heart attacks, strokes, trauma, injuries, common illnesses like the flu and bronchitis, and other less acute problems.

But Dr. Steven Wolf, chairman of emergency medicine at Saint Francis, said it’s been weeks since the emergency room has had that level of activity outside of COVID-19 cases. 

yale new haven; nurse; sara newman;
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As the number of critically ill coronavirus patients began to rise in New Haven, several floors of Smilow Cancer Hospital were converted into intensive care wards. Sara Newman has been a nurse for 39 years and is the nurse manager overseeing the vast majority of Yale New Haven Hospital’s sickest COVID-19 patients. 

coronavirus
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

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.

gloves
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

A national shortage of personal protective equipment has left states and individual providers scrambling to find new supplies as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Meanwhile, Connecticut health care workers are coming into direct contact with infected patients, and not just at the hospitals. Nurses and home health aides said rationing and reusing respirator masks, gloves, gowns and other equipment has been distressing. 

As New York City's hospitals begin to buckle under the weight of the coronavirus crisis, two public spaces that are popular recreation spots in better times are being turned into field hospitals.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Connecticut hospitals are receiving more patients ill with COVID-19 as the new coronavirus continues to spread rapidly.

Public health experts predict that hospitalization rates will get worse in the coming weeks, putting a burden on health care professionals who are also trying to protect themselves and other patients from becoming infected. 

expecting parents
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

One Hartford woman looks at the COVID-19 pandemic as the “icing on the cake” for her challenging pregnancy.

Lauren Perrault, 33, is used to husband Gabe Peterson, 35, being by her side at the doctor’s office. 

Personal protective equipment
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Personal protective equipment -- or PPE -- for health care workers combatting COVID-19 is in short supply.

Despite a run on this type of gear, doctors and nurses have to move forward with treatment.

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