‘The magnitude of generosity in our communities is quite amazing’
To the Editor:
The world, as we all know, is a very different place today than it was just a month ago when we saw our first confirmed COVID-19 patient at Danbury Hospital.
The news arriving by the hour, if not even more frequently, about the spread of COVID-19 in our nation, state, and communities has understandably resulted in a growing sense of fear and perhaps even helplessness for many about the situation.
But what’s getting lost in the story are the positive developments that are being made as we all rise to this extraordinary challenge.
We have been hard at work at Danbury and New Milford hospitals, and across Nuvance Health, well before we even treated our first confirmed COVID-19 patient, as it became clear that it was only a matter of time before what was (and still is) happening in Asia and Europe would also arrive here.
Those preparedness activities and following the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for how to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and effectively care for COVID-19 patients, have helped us immeasurably in dealing with this pandemic.
We continue to prepare and execute emergency response activities.
For example, Nuvance Health launched Virtual Visits at our primary care practices so doctors can screen patients remotely for possible COVID-19 infections.
Virtual Visits are also for primary care patients who want to see their doctor about other health concerns such as colds, viruses, fevers, chronic conditions, new symptoms, and other common illnesses.
This effectively has kept more patients home to help reduce the possible community spread of COVID-19, without sacrificing the care our patients need and deserve, especially now.
Together with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) and our incredible local and state government and public health leaders, emergency medical services, and first responders, we opened two drive-through collection sites at Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital so people in our communities who meet criteria for COVID-19 testing have a safe and convenient place to go to give a specimen sample for a test; all without even leaving their vehicle.
To plan for possible surge scenarios, we prepared two field hospitals together with the City of Danbury, CT DPH, Connecticut Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and Connecticut National Guard: a 25-bed field hospital located outside Danbury Hospital, and 250-bed field hospital located at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
We also launched Nuvance Health Medical Professional Reserves to prepare for possible clinical staffing needs.
We’re looking for volunteers 18 years of age and older with a clinical or healthcare background to assist us with the projected COVID-19 surge. For people who meet this criteria, please visit nuvancehealth.org/volunteer/now.
We are continuing to follow new policies we implemented early on in order to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19, including postponing nonessential procedures and surgeries, limiting visitors at our hospitals and facilities, and screening all employees and approved visitors for risk factors of COVID-19 before they enter our hospitals and facilities.
These planning and response efforts are important.
But it’s also imperative that everyone follow the guidelines established by the federal and state governments to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Governor Ned Lamont has signed several executive orders on a daily basis, indicative of how quickly the situation is changing.
These include limiting all social and recreational gatherings.
We understand these are difficult instructions to accept and follow; but this is a critical time in public health history and it’s crucial we all work together to ensure these temporary orders are followed.
We know this by now but it’s worth repeating the other important ways to protect yourself, your family, and your community and help reduce the spread of COVID-19
These include: avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; wash your hands frequently; cover your coughs and sneezes; and stay six feet away from others.
Please continue to postpone nonessential appointments, errands, and travel in order to stay home as much as possible.
The CDC is also now recommending we wear cloth face coverings in public settings, such as the grocery store, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
I want to assure you that, as of right now, Danbury and New Milford hospitals, and all seven of Nuvance Health’s hospitals, still have adequate supplies.
We continuously and proactively plan for future need, and we welcome federal, state, county, local, and private support to help us maintain supplies during this pandemic.
The magnitude of generosity in our communities is quite amazing.
During this challenging time, many people have asked us, “What can I do to help?”
We cannot thank you enough.
If you are able to provide financial support or an in-kind donation, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), please consider making a difference at this critical time when the demands on our healthcare system are immediate and growing.
For more information, visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus/givenow
Together we’ll get through this. Let’s make that our promise to one another. #DanburyStrong #NewMilfordStrong