HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont used a PowerPoint presentation Friday to show people the hospital surge that’s expected and how it could impact each county differently as COVID-19 rolls through the state.
It will hit Fairfield County next week and is expected to hit New Haven next and then Hartford before it tapers off in July. Litchfield and Tolland County were not included in the chart. Lamont said eastern Connecticut, which he also graphed, will see a lot fewer cases because of the lack of population density.
In order to make sure there’s enough hospital capacity, Connecticut needs to add several thousands more hospital beds and somehow find a way to obtain 3,000 more ventilators.
Connecticut has about 1,000 ventilators and has ordered another 100 from Bio-Med in Guilford. State officials currently don’t know where they are going to source 3,000 more. It had requested 1,500 from the national stockpile and only received 50.
Lamont said Connecticut will need about 12,000 beds. It currently has about 7,000 beds available and of those 7,000 about 4,000 are in the intensive care unit, which is where many COVID-19 patients end up due to the nature of the respiratory virus.
Department of Public Health Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter also tried to clear up some confusion over the death of an infant who was only a few weeks old and tested positive for COVID-19 post-mortem.
Many parents of newborns have been expressing concern about Lamont’s statement attributing the death of the baby to COVID-19 when no cause of death has been released by Chief Medical Examiner James Gill.
“At the current time, we have not issued a final cause of death,” Gill said. “There are numerous tests that we must do on infant deaths before issuing a final cause of death.”
The role of the Department of Public Health is not to report the cause of death of any individual that’s the job of the medical examiner, Cartter said.
“We have our role and our job and the medical examiner has his job,” he added.
There have been 132 people in Connecticut who have died after testing positive for COVID-19. It’s unknown if the cause of death listed on their death certificates will read COVID-19.
Cartter said it’s their job to report all the positive cases and the fatalities associated with those cases.
Lamont said what they do know “is that little baby tested positive for COVID.”
There are 48 of the 216 nursing homes in the state with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.
The state has yet to identify which nursing homes that would house all the COVID positive patients. They expect that information to be available next week.
All of the nursing homes are receiving a 10 percent across-the-board increase in Medicaid payments to help meet extraordinary costs from the public health emergency, Lamont said.
The 10 percent funding increase runs from April 1 through June 30, with an initial payment of $11.6 million scheduled to be received by nursing homes on April 7. The three-month increase is expected to total $35.3 million.