christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Tent coming down at Hartford Hospital (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are down statewide and hospitals are beginning to reopen for elective surgery.

At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, Hartford Hospital had 210 patients, it was down to just 21 on Monday.

Bimal Patel, president of Hartford Hospital, said they have started to take down the additional tents they erected on the hospital grounds. The tents could have been used to discharge patients or even house patients if needed, but they were never used.

The additional surge capacity the hospital helped set up at the Connecticut Convention Center was also never used.

christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Hartford Hospital President Bimal Patel (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

The removal of the tents is a sign things are beginning to return to normal.

Dr Adam Steinberg said all patients who are coming for elective procedures are getting a COVID-19 test up to five days in advance of that procedure and any patient admitted to the hospital is also getting tested.

“We’re really glad that the volume of COVID-related conditions continues to decrease,” Dr. Kenneth Robinson, head of the emergency department, said.

He said “while we’re taking down the tent because the volume of COVID in our community is decreasing, we still have all of the necessary precautions in place in the emergency department so that if you do not think you have COVID it will be a perfectly safe experience for you.”

There’s a triage unit outside the emergency department for anyone experiencing any COVID-related symptoms. It’s available to walk-ins and ambulance arrivals.

“We encourage you to come back to the emergency department if you need to,” Robinson said. “It is far worse to have a stroke or heart attack than it is to have COVID.”

Temperature checks are still being done on everyone entering the hospital.

Steinberg said they are allowing visitors to the hospital now after they are screened and have their temperature taken.

“We’re living in two different worlds. COVID is still here and we’re very cognizant of that and we’re taking all the precautions needed for that but we’re also going back to a normal state of activities and procedures that you would have expected prior to COVID,” Steinberg said.

christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
COVID triage unit (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Steinberg said they are prepared if there ends up being a second wave of infections.

So far, 45,088 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since March and 4,201 people have died.

As of Sunday, a total of 347,190 tests have been given.