Daily coronavirus updates: CT weekly test positivity rate drops to 16%; Hartford HealthCare opens priority COVID-19 testing for first-responders

Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS
·3 min read

In a continuation of recent trends, Connecticut’s weekly COVID-19 test positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations due to the virus fell again Friday.

“We are well into our downslope of our rollercoaster,” Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief epidemiologist at Hartford HealthCare, said of the state’s COVID-19 metrics.

Connecticut’s weekly test positivity rate now stands at 16%, the lowest it has been since late December and a one-third reduction from where it was just over a week ago. Hospitalizations also declined significantly Friday, dropping below 1,700 patients for the first time in two weeks.

“I’m happy the numbers are going down,” Wu said. “We’re all very tired, we’re all weary. But we’re certainly not letting up the fight.”

Hartford HealthCare also announced on Friday priority no-appointment COVID-19 testing for first responders — including law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMTs and firefighters— at its eight COVID-19 testing sites, from 8 to 9 a.m.

“For those that are on the frontlines, our first responders, our dispatchers, our EMTs, paramedics, we need to make sure that we are as much as possible, we’re getting the testing to them,” said Kevin Ferrarotti, Hartford HealthCare’s senior director of EMS network development.

Cases and positivity rate

Connecticut reported on Friday 4,444 new COVID-19 cases out of 32,459 tests administered, for a daily positivity rate of 13.69%.

After averaging more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day in mid-January, Connecticut is now seeing half that volume of new cases. As of Friday, the state had averaged fewer than 5,000 new cases per day over the past week.

All eight Connecticut counties are still 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 Thursday, Connecticut reported 1,695 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a decrease of 38 people since Thursday and the lowest hospitalizations have been since Jan. 5.

Hospital officials say some of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were admitted for reasons other than the virus before testing positive upon arrival, but emphasize that a majority have significant COVID-19 symptoms.

According to the state, 56.9% 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 weekly COVID-19 deaths once a week. The state reported 241 additional COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing its total during the pandemic to 9,683.

The United States has now recorded 860,386 COVID-19 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccinations

As of Friday, 91.7% of all Connecticut residents and 95% of those 12 and older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 76% of all residents and 84.5% of those 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Additionally, about 49.1% 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 elfawcett@courant.com.

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