West Hartford’s health director told the Town Council Tuesday night that a ‘resurgence of COVID-19’ has begun.
By Christine Stuart, CTNewsJunkie.com and Ronni Newton, We-Ha.com
Connecticut’s COVID positivity rate jumped to 2.4% Tuesday, which is the highest it’s been since June, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.
“One day you don’t dwell on,” the governor said Tuesday, but Wednesday’s data – 164 positive cases out of 8,359 tests – resulted in a positivity rate of just under 2%.
Data reported by the state Wednesday for West Hartford indicated 991 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 – up 44 over the past week.
Aimee Krauss, director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, told the Town Council Tuesday night that she believes “we are in the beginning phases of our resurgence of COVID-19.”
Statewide, coronavirus-related hospitalizations rose by 17 according to data reported Tuesday, bringing the total to 172. That is another number the state has not seen since June. Hospitalizations jumped by another 16 according to Wednesday’s report, for a total of 188 patients.
An estimated 2% of Connecticut’s 8,000 hospital beds are being used by COVID patients at the moment, Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said Tuesday.
Connecticut is fast approaching the number of cases it uses to put other states on a travel advisory that asks visitors to quarantine when they arrive in the state. There are currently 36 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam, on the advisory.
Right now it’s at about 8 or 9 cases per 100,000, according to Geballe. To get on Connecticut’s travel advisory, a state has to have 10 cases per 100,000.
“I think overall the travel advisory has been very effective,” Lamont said.
He added that it’s “discouraged some unnecessary travel, but obviously this net is getting wider – we have to rethink it.”
The state’s positivity rate had been hovering above 1% for the past few weeks. The seven-day average is 1.5%, Geballe said Tuesday.
“When you see the positivity rate going from less than 1 percent to one, one-and-a-half, now 2.4, it’s not unexpected, but it’s incredibly unnerving and a little exhausting,” Lamont said.
State officials attributed the increase to more “person-to-person” contact within family units.
That’s the case in West Hartford, according to Krauss. “What we are finding when we are doing our contact tracing is we are finding a lot of families that have positive cases,” she said Tuesday night. There is some community spread in West Hartford, some spread in workplaces, she said.
“I expect them to be more brush fires than they are wildfires,” Dr. Albert Ko, an epidemiologist with Yale University said during Tuesday’s press briefing regarding the increasing number of cases.
“The key players in preventing COVID are going to be our fellow citizens,” Ko said. “And their understanding, their awareness of face mask use and basic social distancing.”
He said large gatherings or super-spreading events will cause the numbers of positive cases to increase more rapidly.
The increasing rate “certainly tells us we have work to do,” Ko said.
But enforcement of curtailing large families gatherings is difficult.
“Really what I can best do is use the bully pulpit to urge people to be particularly careful now during this season leading up to Thanksgiving,” Lamont said.
“We are still seeing a lot of people who are asymptomatic who are testing positive,” Krauss said. Physical distancing and wearing masks needs to continue.
Krauss said there are also cases where people who are supposed to be quarantined have returned to work.
Ko said not everybody who lives in a household where a family member has been infected will get the virus.
“It’s only about 10 to 15 percent of the people,” Ko said.
He said the rough rule is that 20% of the people are responsible for about 80% of the transmission.
Ko said they will have to rely on education to prevent those large gatherings from taking place.
They will also have to depend on local public health officials because each region of the state is different.
He said, “The actions have to be tailored to the local environment.”
“Wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance … it’s just as important today as it was in March,” West Hartford Deputy Mayor Leon Davidoff said Tuesday night. “Without having good public health protocols, our entire community is at risk.”
Republished with permission from CTNewsJunkie.com, all rights reserved.
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