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National Guard setting up COVID-19 recovery center at CCSU

HARTFORD — The Connecticut National Guard began setting up nearly 200 beds for recovering COVID-19 patients Tuesday at Central Connecticut State University as coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Hartford County increase.

The care center at Kaiser Hall is part of efforts around the state to increase bed capacity for recovering patients. It will be used to free up beds at hospitals for patients with advanced cases of COVID-19, said Dr. Mark Prete, president of the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group.

“The population is those needing post-acute care who just can’t go home yet or those on observation status,” he said, adding that patients whose conditions worsen will be transferred to a hospital.

Hartford HealthCare medical staff will oversee the patients and National Guard soldiers will provide nonmedical support, officials said. The Guard has set up a similar recovery center with about 600 beds at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

Hartford County coronavirus hospitalizations continue to increase, while those in Fairfield and New Haven counties have decreased slightly in recent days. More than 3,800 people in Hartford County had tested positive for the virus, 369 had died and 455 were hospitalized as of Monday. As of Sunday, about 3,350 people had tested positive, 295 had died and 420 were hospitalized.

More than 19,000 people in the state have tested positive, and 1,331 have died. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

In other coronavirus-related developments around Connecticut:

Food distribution

A regional food bank said it gave out about 21,000 pounds of free food to more than 900 families Monday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Officials with Foodshare expected a similar turnout Tuesday outside the football stadium at the University of Connecticut, and vehicles lined up early in the morning. The distribution began Monday and will run through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon daily for residents of Hartford and Tolland counties.

Prisoners' lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of state prison inmates who say they aren’t being protected from the coronavirus.

The lawsuit, which is similar to one filed earlier in state court, asks a judge to order the governor and Correction Department commissioner to release medically vulnerable inmates, and to create a plan to protect those who remain incarcerated and release more prisoners if socially distancing remains impossible.

More than 290 inmates and about 200 prison staff had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday. One inmate has died.

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