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Cyberattack closes emergency departments at Conn. hospitals

It issues at Manchester and Rockville hospitals caused stroke patient diversions and impacted urgent care



Journal Inquirer

MANCHESTER, Conn. — The Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) was experiencing major computer system problems Thursday, limiting services, and causing appointments to be rescheduled or canceled in what appears to be a ransomware attack. The computer problems forced the emergency departments at both Manchester and Rockville hospitals to close.

“We’re having some IT issues right now,” Nina Kruse, the group’s vice president for communications and public affairs, said Thursday morning. “All staff are working hard reaching out to patients and rescheduling and canceling appointments for today.”

Kruse later confirmed the disruption was the result of a cybersecurity issue but did not elaborate.

Kruse said that the IT issue were impacting the urgent care in South Windsor, all of the hospital’s blood draw locations, and their medical imaging locations, but other issues are currently being assessed for problems.

Manchester and Rockville hospitals are diverting stroke patients until further notice, Kruse said, but remain open.

“Patients suspected to be in a state of possible stroke will be rerouted to another hospital for a time. We will contact ambulance agencies,” Kruse said. “It’s a patient safety measure.”

A notice posted on ECHN’s website noted that the emergency departments at both Manchester and Rockville hospitals would be closed until further notice. In addition, the post indicated all ECHN “primary care locations” and “specialty locations” would also be closed until further notice.

Manchester Mayor Jay Moran said he is aware of the system shutdown, and said that he is sure the hospital will contact him if they need him, but he is confident that they have everything under control from a management standpoint.

“I have confidence that the doctors and administrators have emergency plans in place for certain things,” Moran said.

Manchester Police Lt. Ryan Shea said that his department has not been notified about the system shutdown, but he knows that if ECHN needs their services, they will be called.

Kruse said that the hospital will keep the public updated as they regroup.

Both Manchester and Rockville hospitals are in the process of being acquired by Yale New Haven Health System.

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