Data models have attempted to predict the spread and scope of COVID-19 and when a surge will affect those in Connecticut. While no one knows for certain when exactly the surge will happen, UConn Health is prepared – thanks to a helping hand from the Connecticut National Guard.
The Guard was at UConn Health on Monday, April 13 to assist in setting up 136 surge capacity hospital beds in the Connecticut Tower to prepare for a potential increase in COVID-19 patients.
The National Guard will also provide UConn Health with equipment for a potential additional 107 beds on the 7th floor of the University Tower should they be needed. Together this will provide a surge capacity of 243 beds in addition to the 82 bed surge capacity they have already identified in the University Tower.
“We would like to thank the State’s Unified Command and the National Guard for their assistance in getting us prepared for the worst case scenario. This is capacity we hope we won’t have to utilize, but it is important to be prepared,” says Andrew Agwunobi, CEO of UConn Health and EVP of Health Affairs.
The 65 members of the National Guard spent the day moving employees to new offices and setting up beds brought in from the University of Connecticut in Storrs to create new hospital rooms. Activating the space on the Farmington campus provides the opportunity to offer a higher level of care to patients as each room of the Connecticut Tower has built-in support such as medical gases, access to operating rooms, cardiac catheterization lab, pharmacy, and other services.
“The UConn Health staff has been so welcoming, and it’s been great to work with them on repurposing this space back into hospital rooms,” says Capt. Dave Pytlik, spokesman for the Connecticut National Guard. “We have been working mostly out in the western portion of the state, it’s comforting to know that the hospitals and health systems here in the central part of the state are taking such strong measure to be able to handle additional patients.”