Connecticut’s coronavirus hospitalizations dropped again over the weekend, while cases continued to tick up at a slow but steady pace.
Last week, the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increased for three days in a row, but on Monday the state reported that hospitalizations had dropped by a total of 12 since Friday. There are now 59 coronavirus patients hospitalized in the state, down from a peak of nearly 2,000 in April.
The state also reported an additional five coronavirus-related deaths Monday, for a total of 4,418 since the pandemic began.
And over the weekend, the state added 207 coronavirus cases for a total of 48,983, inching toward the milestone of 50,000.
Those new cases were identified out of a total of 31,960 tests, for a three-day positivity rate of about 0.65%.
Positivity rate is found by dividing the number of new cases by the total number of tests conducted, and can be used to gauge whether a state is conducting enough testing.
A higher positivity rate indicates that a state is only testing patients who have a high probability of testing positive, such as people with clear COVID-19 symptoms. A lower positivity rate indicates that a state is testing more broadly and has expanded testing to those who have a lower chance of testing positive, such as people who are asymptomatic.
When a state has a high positivity rate, it may be due to a sharp increase in cases or due to a lack of testing. But either way, a high rate indicates the state does not have a clear picture of the outbreak within its borders. A low rate indicates the opposite.
In recent weeks, the state’s positivity rate has hovered around 1%, though it’s often dropped even lower.
Connecticut’s risk ranking worsens
Over the weekend, an initiative called Covid Act Now updated its ranking of states’ coronavirus risk level, with Connecticut falling from “yellow” to “orange,” indicating it is further off course from containing the coronavirus.
But the state’s chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, said the shift is a trick of the data, not an actual change in the reality. On Friday, the state reported an unusually large number of coronavirus cases and test results, after an out-of-state lab relayed testing information dating back to mid-May.
Although the 440 backfilled cases were spread out over the course of two months, the data shows only that the case information was received on Friday.
That backfilled data “is skewing our rolling average metrics on cases and test positivity rate,” Geballe said in an email. “Normalizing for that catch up our metrics remain very stable and favorable.”
As recently as a week ago, Connecticut was ranked “green” or “on track to contain COVID,” but it was first downgraded to “yellow” or “controlled disease growth” when a new metric was added to the model.
Monday’s downgrading marks the second time in a week that the state has slipped in the rankings. In the “orange” category, Connecticut joins more than half of the nation’s states.
Only 10 states are in the “yellow” category, most of them in the Northeast. There are no states in the “green” category.
Emily Brindley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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