CT Still Weeks Away From Coronavirus Peak: Health Experts

Rich Kirby
·2 min read

CONNECTICUT — Exactly when Connecticut can expect coronavirus cases to peak has been a moving target.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer for Hartford HealthCare, said the models he is following had originally placed the spike around Dec. 5-7. Now, he says the modeling "has changed a little bit," and forecasts the top of the second wave of cases cresting in mid-to-late December.

What exactly will that look like this time around?

"Not as drastic as what we saw last March and April," Kumar said in a news conference Thursday.

The first wave in the spring saw hospitalizations top off at about 2,000. Optimistically, the winter spike is looking more like 1,600-1,700 hospitalizations, according to Kumar, but that assumes the spread of the virus is contained through social distancing and mask-wearing. He called Thanksgiving and Christmas "wild factors" unaccounted for in the modeling, ones which could have a drastic effect on the numbers.

"We will only reach those numbers with intervention and if we enact the appropriate precautions," Kumar said in a statement released after the news conference. "As a reminder, our current predictive modeling suggests we will face a significant surge in late December and early January, a surge which could exceed what we saw in April."

Those less optimistic forecasts jibe with predictions made last month by Dr. John Murphy, the president and CEO of Nuvance Health, which operates hospitals in Connecticut and New York. He envisioned the second wave lasting into the middle of January. Driving those calculations were considerations of students returning home for the holidays, colder weather keeping people indoors, and end-of-year festivities featuring large family gatherings.

Both experts downplayed concerns over hospitals having enough beds to handle the influx of patients, or sufficient supplies to protect their workers and treat their patients.

"We have good capacity," Kumar said.

The average hospital stay at the start of the pandemic was around 14 days, and now it's a week, which "effectively doubles our capacity," Murphy said.

The state passed 100,000 total COVID-19 cases Friday, as the Department of Public Health continues to log thousands of new cases daily.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch