NEW BRITAIN - Five positive cases of coronavirus in Connecticut have been confirmed as of Thursday afternoon, two more than the day before, Gov. Ned Lamont reported a press conference.
Ninety-five people have been tested in the state laboratory, resulting in six positive tests, including one in New York, and 89 negatives.
Of the three new cases, one is a Stamford woman in her 60s and recently returned from a trip to Italy. She is currently hospitalized at Stamford Hospital. Another case is a young woman in her 20s from New York who was seen as an outpatient at Greenwich Hospital. She is recovering at home.
The third positive case is a child who lives in Stratford and is also recovering at home. According to Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist, the child had been exposed to another known positive case.
In total, there are four positive cases in Fairfield County and one positive case in Litchfield County.
Cartter emphasized that community mitigation is only going to work if everyone does it together. The significant driver of this pandemic virus is people who are coughing and sneezing, so he urges everyone to avoid exposure as much as possible.
“It’s not too late to stay home if you’re sick,” he said. “This is only going to work if all of us together do what needs to be done to slow the transmission of the virus. This is a virus that can be killed through cleaning and disinfection.”
Lamont has also signed an executive order that takes several actions, including prohibiting all events in the state with over 250 people, modifying the state law requiring schools to be in for 180 days, clarifying visitor restrictions at all nursing and convalescent homes, authorizing Department of Motor Vehicles to extend renewal deadlines to reduce crowds, and relaxing attendance rules for all police academy trainees.
Medical professionals are urging residents to exercise good respiratory etiquette, practice social distancing, and to stay at home if ill to limit any potential exposure to the coronavirus.
If you are visiting someone in Bristol Hospital, Bristol Health has posted guidelines for visitors on their website.
They posted that you may not visit Bristol Hospital if you:
nHave respiratory or flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, body aches or headaches.
nHave recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
nAre younger than 12, unless special permission is granted.
The guidelines continue:
nWe highly encourage all individuals who are not essential to the care or transport of a patient to avoid coming to our care facilities.
nIf you experience any respiratory or flu-like symptoms, please contact your primary care provider’s office for a screening.
nLimiting the number of visitors per patient is in the best interest of patients, staff and guests.
nEmergency Center patients and visitors who have traveled to an area with COVID-19 spread and who have fever, cough or shortness of breath should identify themselves to hospital staff as possible Persons Under Investigation for the coronavirus. This will enable our staff to take precautionary treatment measures.
nAnyone who visits or accompanies a patient at Bristol Hospital must clean their hands.
“For the vast majority of people, the coronavirus is a self-limited illness, which means most people have no need to visit a hospital and can recover at home,” said Stephanie Wright, an infectious disease specialist at Hartford HealthCare. “The illness is more severe towards the elderly or if the person has an underlying illness, which may require hospitalization and intensive care.”
But for the most part, Wright emphasized that there are many simple things that people can do to prevent exposure, including washing hands, avoid face touching, staying 6 feet away from someone who is coughing and sneezing, cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose the tissue into a covered trashcan, and stay home if ill to prevent any exposure.
Health officials are also recommending people to speak to their primary doctors or go through a hospital’s call line before visiting a hospital if they’re feeling unwell, such as fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and other symptoms. Hartford HealthCare also provides virtual visits with physicians, where patients can get advice by phone or by computer.
“We want to make sure that people get the proper advice and care while not exposing their illness to other people,” Wright explained.
If a patient is tested positive for the coronavirus, arrangements will be made to transport the patient to a hospital. The hospital will be informed and prepare a contained space for the patient. According to Hartford HealthCare, all of the hospitals in the system have the capacity to take care of patients and to make sure all medical officials are working in a safe environment.
At this time, there are no plans to increase staffing and the current staffing level is good, said Wright. “We want to make sure resources are there for those who do get ill while still being able to treat other patients coming through our hospitals with other illnesses,” said Wright. “Keeping the potential case load down to avoid any kind of overwhelming situation is a priority.”
There cannot be enough stress from medical officials for people to understand that the best thing to do is to continue practicing good hygiene habits and educate themselves with accurate information. Henry Anyimadu, physician and infectious disease specialist, said while it’s difficult not to panic, having good knowledge allays the fear.
While the virus is affecting a lot of people, particularly the older generation, over 80% of the people affected in China is doing well, less than 20% end up with severe illness, while the mortality rate is lower than 2%, he said. “I think it’s important to emphasis that in general, people who have the virus will get well.
To receive the latest information through text from Hartford HealthCare, text “COVID19” to 31996.
Visit www.hartfordhealthcare.org to set up a virtual visit with a healthcare provider and for coronavirus updates.
To contact the Hartford HealthCare COVID-19 Command Center 24/7 hotline, call 860-972-8100.