National Guard repurposing Stamford Hospital building to meet coronavirus needs
STAMFORD — Members of the Connecticut National Guard were at Stamford Hospital Saturday to begin repurposing a building on the site to help meet extra demand brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“In preparation for a scenario where the demand for care is beyond that which our facility can currently accommodate, Stamford Health is working with the State of Connecticut and the National Guard to recommission the Wheeler Building on the Bennett Medical Center campus as an alternative care site,” Andie Jodko, spokeswoman for Stamford Health, said in a release.
The organization has not yet decided how exactly it will use the repurposed building, according to Jodko.
“We’ll be more clearly determining that in the coming days based on what the needs are,” she told Hearst Connecticut Media Saturday.
Stamford Hospital is not the first facility in Connecticut that the National Guard has helped prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, and it won’t be the last, according to Capt. David Pytlik, spokesman for the agency.
They are looking to do similar work at hospitals in Farmington and New Britain in the coming days, Pytlik said.
The work is part of the National Guard’s efforts to enhance the state’s preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic, Pytlik said, adding that they typically provide support based on the needs identified by the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
“The main sentiment that our people have is that they want to help, they want to make a difference,” Pytlik said. While Guard personnel are worried about the health and safety of their families, he continued, they know that there’s “the greater mission.”
Officers began their work in Stamford Saturday. Pytlik said he expects that they will begin moving beds into the building on Monday.
Jodko said she could not say for sure Saturday when the site would be ready.
“We are pleased that the governor has mobilized the National Guard to assist us in further preparations for COVID-19,” Stamford Health President and CEO Kathleen Silard in a statement. “The Wheeler Building was decommissioned just three years ago and is an ideal alternative care site because it was previously a hospital and is next to our new hospital on the Bennett Medical Center campus. We are working tirelessly to prepare for every eventuality because that’s what it takes to provide the best possible care for our community.”