Our hospital had its first COVID-19 case, a 59-year old Hartford man who had already been released to self-isolation when his test came back positive. Hartford Hospital had its first a few days ago. They timed their press conference with the start of the 10:00 PM news. The patient is 88 and comes from a suburb just south of Hartford. No other details were reported.

A friend of mine, who hasn’t been feeling well, went to another local hospital where he got swabbed in his car, with the sample sent off to Washington state. He should hear results in a week. In the meantime he is staying home.

School was suspended for both my 12-year-old daughter and my college sophomore daughter, who is now home with us. I stopped by the supermarket to get some more groceries to feed the larger household and found many of the aisles bare. All fresh and frozen vegetables gone. Chicken and hamburger gone. Paper towels and toilet paper. Gone. Hand sanitizer and wipes, forget about them. It’s getting crazy. They even shut down the town pool where I swim every night. I swim to clean the city off me, to separate the outside world from my inner peace. Plus, the chlorine would be great for getting rid of any lingering corona and other germs so I can come home peaceful and pristine. They closed the pool.

I continue to read the news, which just increases my angst. One article reassures me that the virus is mild in most cases, the next describes Corona as “the perfect killing machine.” An article says China is getting back to normal, another one describes a near zombie apocalypse in Italy.

My wife just texted me about an interview with an Italian doctor that has her as upset as I have ever known her to be. She begs me to take precautions and be careful to protect my children and family while I am at work.

Here on the ambulance today there is a nice folder of handy reference information on the outbreak with everything about how to properly screen a patient for COVID-19 to how to clean the ambulance after each patient. The “foreign travel” screening question has been changed to “Have you traveled to a HOT area where there are known corona cases?” It mentions that our state is one of them.

It was slow today. I didn’t need to put on a face mask for any of my patients. Most, but not all the churches, were closed. The hospitals seemed close to empty. In the EMS rooms, the TV newscasters made more dire predictions about how long the epidemic was going to last. One health expert said the best thing would be for everyone to stay in their homes. I was the only one in the Jamaican restaurant I went to for breakfast. Next door was a market that was empty of people, but fully stocked. They had toilet paper and paper towels and all those things that had been ravaged from the suburban market. I guess in Hartford people don’t always have the spare money to stock up on supplies.

The paper said in a few days when the tests start coming back, we may have thousands of cases in the city. I can’t believe the quiet will last much longer.

It was a beautiful day today. In the afternoon, we got posted to the suburbs for an hour while their town ambulance was on a call. I brought my basketball and shot baskets for about twenty minutes in a park where nearby three dads were playing baseball with their young sons. When I get off it will still be light, and I am hoping to take my daughter to the park, too.


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