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Daily coronavirus updates: COVID-19 cases in Connecticut could peak by weekend ...

Daily coronavirus updates: COVID-19 cases in Connecticut could peak by weekend ...

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On Jan. 3, 2022, Erica Texeira distributed two of 1300 at-home COVID-19 test kits at a Wethersfield High School drive-through site. Wethersfield residents were provided two kits per car and all of the town's 1300 tests were allotted within 90-minutes of the site's opening.

On Jan. 3, 2022, Erica Texeira distributed two of 1300 at-home COVID-19 test kits at a Wethersfield High School drive-through site. Wethersfield residents were provided two kits per car and all of the town's 1300 tests were allotted within 90-minutes of the site's opening. (Mark Mirko/The Hartford Courant)

Despite COVID-19 hospitalizations in Connecticut approaching record highs and transmission of the virus still elevated, a Hartford HealthCare epidemiologist said Tuesday he expects the state’s COVID-19 metrics will begin to subside this weekend.

Over the past four weeks, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have more than tripled in Connecticut, although in recent days, the rate of increase has begun to slow somewhat. On Tuesday, Connecticut’s weekly COVID-19 test positivity rate declined for the first time in four weeks.

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Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief epidemiologist at Hartford HealthCare, said he anticipates that the state’s COVID-19 cases will peak around Jan. 15 and hospitalizations sometime later, around Jan. 21. Other experts have pointed to mid-January to late-January as the peak of the current surge.

Wu said that the recent plateau of cases and hospitalizations in New York City was an encouraging sign for Connecticut.

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“Just like we tend to lag the UK by a few months, we also lag New York by one-to-two weeks as well,” he said. “If their cases are dropping, we should follow suit soon.”

For now, Connecticut hospitals continue to treat large numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Tuesday, Hartford HealthCare had 522 patients with the disease, about 30% of whom had been admitted for non-coronavirus reasons.

Symptoms continue to be most severe for unvaccinated patients, officials said.

Connecticut reported 6,751 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday out of 28,312 tests administered, for a daily positivity rate of 23.85%. The state’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at 23.53%, a very slight decrease from Monday’s rate of 23.55%, which was the highest of any point since widespread testing began more than 18 months ago. Tuesday’s seven-day positivity rate marks the first decline of the metric since early December.

All eight Connecticut counties — along with nearly the entire rest of the country — are recording “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission as defined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With this level of transmission, the CDC advises people to wear a mask in public indoor settings.

Hospitalizations

As of Tuesday, Connecticut had 1,920 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, up 31 from Monday. Hospital officials say some of those patients were admitted for non-coronavirus reasons before testing positive upon arrival but that a majority have significant COVID-19 symptoms.

Connecticut is now just 52 hospitalized patients away from reaching the all-time high of 1,972 hospitalizations recorded on April 22, 2020.

According to state data, 67.3% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated. Hospital officials say the rate is significantly higher when considering only patients with severe symptoms.

Deaths

Connecticut reports COVID-19 deaths on Thursdays. Last week, the state recorded 121 deaths, bringing its total during the pandemic to 9,281.

The United States has now recorded 840,513 COVID-19 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccinations

As of Tuesday, 90.3% of all Connecticut residents and 95% of those 12 and older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 75.3% of all residents and 84.1% of those 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Additionally, about 46.2% of fully vaccinated Connecticut residents 18 or older have received a booster dose.

The CDC warns that booster shots are sometimes misclassified as first doses, likely inflating the reported number of first-dose coverage and understating the true number of people who have received boosters.

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Eliza Fawcett can be reached at elfawcett@courant.com. Courant staff writer Alex Putterman contributed to this report.

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