HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Trinity Health of New England has announced layoffs, including at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford.

This comes as public health officials continue to watch coronavirus cases spike nationwide.

The pandemic put a huge financial strain on hospitals, despite many being at or near capacity at times during this pandemic.

The layoffs announced are across the healthcare chain that includes five hospitals.

In a statement, Trinity Health of New England said, in part, “Though there are positive signs that patients are returning for services, the organization expects the recovery will be gradual, and there are many unknowns, with possible resurgence of the virus and the country’s economic recovery.”

Connecticut Hospital Vice President Mark Shaefer said, “We certainly haven't seen as profound an impact on the finances of the health care industry overall.”

He went on to say he estimates the pandemic has cost the state’s 27 hospitals a combined $2 billion. This is due to increased costs and expected lost revenue from non-COVID patients avoiding visits.

Shaefer estimates federal stimulus funds so far have covered just half that loss.

Saint Mary’s in Waterbury, another Trinity hospital, has received $19.5 million in aid. Saint Francis received $40.6 million.

The two hospitals also got advanced Medicaid payments, including $33.9 million for Saint Mary’s, $91.6 million for Saint Francis. Hospitals do need to pay back those funds.

Shaefer said may state and federal help is needed.

For the employees, the announcement of layoffs isn’t any easier to accept.

“It’s a slap in the face, I feel like,” said Johanlee Thompson, of New Britain.

Thompson was a registered nurse at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford for three years. However, that ended this week as Thompson learned she's been laid off.

Several employees shared similar news on social media.

“They tell us one thing and then another thing happens, and it just feels like there's just no type of communication,” Thompson said.

She said she is aware of the budget crunch, but says Trinity Health didn't handle the layoffs properly. She also says things were confusing, being laid off just days after her furlough was extended.

She says it’s also tough to lose her job as people celebrate front line workers.

“I'm taken back by it, because here I am, ready to help all these patients out and I was there until I got furloughed,” Thompson said.

Channel 3 reached out to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office for a comment but has not yet heard back.

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

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