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Bridgeport arena to house patient overflow from hospitals

BRIDGEPORT — An arena in Bridgeport will be set up to house patients as hospitals in the region brace for an increase in the number of people with the coronavirus, the mayor said.

Medical equipment will arrive by Tuesday at the Webster Bank Arena, Mayor Joe Ganim said. The arena will hold 128 beds to accommodate the overflow from hospitals and will take in ambulatory or mildly symptomatic patients, he said.

Connecticut has reported nearly 2,000 people with the virus. Fairfield County has been home to over 1,200 of them and to 21 of the 34 deaths reported statewide so far.

"In the last week, two of our residents succumbed to the virus, and the number of positive coronavirus cases in Bridgeport tripled,” Ganim said. “We need to take as many proactive measures as we can to support government and health care officials by ensuring that emergency plans are in place to stay ahead of further devastating effects and support the health care system.”

Most people who contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. Hospitals in the most afflicted areas are straining to handle patients, and some are short of critical supplies.

Administration of the alternative care site at the arena will be overseen by the state emergency operations center, city officials said.

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