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Hartford HealthCare experts: COVID-19 surge may peak next week

Hartford North End Mobile COVID-19 Testing
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Monique Coleman is tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing site in the parking lot of Phillips Health Center on Main Street in Hartford on May 12.

Experts at Hartford HealthCare told reporters that the omicron surge in Connecticut likely will peak next week. The prediction comes as the state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has hovered near 25% for over a week.

“I would expect that cases should start hopefully decreasing by Jan. 15, and hopefully hospitalizations would follow shortly thereafter around Jan. 21,” said Dr. Ulysses Wu, chief epidemiologist at Hartford HealthCare.

While infection rates and hospitalizations are up, around 30% of Hartford HealthCare’s current coronavirus cases are incidental, said Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer at Hartford HealthCare.

“The data [being] presented needs to be taking into account that we see patients who actually have asymptomatic or mild disease. They may not even know that they have COVID, but they have [an] unrelated reason requiring hospitalization,” Kumar said.

Hartford HealthCare officials attribute this change largely to the efficacy of vaccines — those who are getting infected have much milder symptoms. However, they said booster shots are just as important as the first two shots.

“Individuals who have boosters generally have very good outcomes, even if they get admitted to the hospital,” Kumar said. “We have zero patients who [are] intubated right now with boosters. Very few — I think 3% only — individuals in the Hartford HealthCare [system] have boosters.”

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