Danbury’s outdoor hospital could treat variety of patients
DANBURY — Crews progressed Thursday on installing the 25-bed tented facility that Danbury Hospital says would be equipped to handle a surge in patients due to the coronavirus.
Danbury Hospital has not decided when or how it plans to use the facility, which is expected be fully set up outside the hospital by mid-day Friday in a city that is recording the third-highest number of cases in the state.
“We’re developing the mobile field hospital as a ‘what if’ and looking a number of different scenarios for how we could use this field hospital,” said Matthew Cassavechia, director of emergency medical services at Danbury Hospital.
This includes treating patients with or without coronavirus or using it to triage patients elsewhere to the main hospital, he said.
“We’re looking at the entire system,” Cassavechia said. “We service such a large area. We’re preparing for an assortment of a variety of patients that may present to our hospital.”
Dr. Yaseen Hayajneh, a professor at Western Connecticut State University who has helped set up two regular hospitals in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, said figuring out how the facility will be used needs to be done first.
“It’s very crucial they decide how they are going to use this hospital,” said Hayajneh, the graduate coordinator of WCSU’s master of health administration program and associate professor at the department of management at the Ancell School of Business. “Because that will determine how they structure it, how you would organize it, which human resources you’re going to be needing.”
The facility’s close proximity to the main hospital will make it easy for medical professionals and additional equipment to be brought in, Cassavechia said.
“It could be supported by the main hospital, both by staff and resources,” he said.
Stretchers and wheelchairs are in the tent, while each bed has equipment, such as an IV and oxygen tank, that could serve patients with any diagnosis, he said.
Staffing numbers will be determined by what types of patients are in the tent, he said.
“It is dynamic,” Cassavechia said. “Certainly, we’re going to make sure we have adequate staff in this space to take care of the needs.”
This is the second tented facility that has been set up in the state this week, with St. Francis Hospital in Hartford installing one on Monday.
Danbury Hospital, which is part of the seven-hospital network Nuvance, has worked closely with the state Department of Health in creating the facility.
“That has put us in a forward leaning position here on this rather emerging situation,” Cassavechia said.
Danbury has created mobile hospitals before for health and CPR days and in 2013 used one for an extended period of time for its emergency department, he said.
“We know how important it is to our community,” Cassavechia said.
Danbury is one of the communities with the highest number of cases in the state, with 69 reported in the city on Thursday evening, according to the state Department of Health. Statewide, there have been 1,012 cases, 125 hospitalizations and 21 deaths.
Nearly 50 people have been hospitalized in Fairfield County, with 607 people testing positive in the county.
An additional 25 beds in Danbury should be enough, for now, Hayajneh said.
“It’s a good number for a start,” he said.