HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Hartford HealthCare said it continues to prepare for a surge of coronavirus patients while in desperate need for medical supplies.

Updates from it on the COVID-19 situation are expected on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

It said during a Tuesday morning update that they're still waiting for the number of cases to significantly go up.

The criteria for screening for COVID-19 was also changed on Tuesday after a number of patients experienced abdominal pain and diarrhea. 

That's in addition to the fever, cough and shortness of breath symptoms.

Warnings that hospitals and health care providers are dangerously low on supplies continue to come from across the country.

Connecticut received its first donated shipments this week.

Gov. Ned Lamont said on Monday that the donations included the coveted N-95 protective masks.

The state Department of Public Health's commissioner also signed an order easing the rules for out-of-state practitioners to work in Connecticut during the coronavirus outbreak.

Hartford Healthcare is looking toward the future and said it's thinking about how it will convert auditoriums and other areas to "patient care rooms.”

It put elective surgeries on hold, which freed up operating rooms to treat patients.

It continues to try and perceive what the situation will look like "weeks out.”

Tuesday, it said it was conserving N95 masks.

“The gloves are in extremely short supply right now. N95 continues to be a challenge, surgical mask and procedural masks continue to be a challenge as well,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer at Hartford HealthCare.

For many hospitals, they've gotten donations of those supplies.

Connecticut’s Mission of Mercy canceled its free dental clinic because of the pandemic.

It donated all of its personal protective equipment, which will be distributed to medical facilities throughout Connecticut.

The executive directors said in a statement “we may not have had a CT Mission of Mercy free dental clinic this past weekend; however, a Mission of Mercy took place! It was an honor to help our community during this crisis."

Hospitals have been looking ahead to prepare for what's needed in the days, weeks and even months to come. Still, they said this isn't a time to panic.

For anyone interested in donating supplies, the N95 masks have to be new and unused. For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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