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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Eliza Fawcett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Courant staff writer Alex Putterman contributed to this report.