Risk of holiday season COVID spike low if vaccinations continue, CT DPH commissioner says

Holidays

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s been a lot of talk about a spike in COVID-19 around the holidays. And with the winter months upon us, how bad could it get? The state commissioner of public health says if everyone is vaccinated, the risk is low. But she is concerned about the unvaccinated and super spreader events that could push the numbers higher this holiday.

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Dr. Manisha Juthani, the state commissioner of public health said, “Given that we see a lot of cases around us, and in Connecticut in the last two weeks, in particular, we have seen an uptick the slope of which makes me concerned.”

People eating at the Thanksgiving table without masks, gathering at holiday parties, and church services, how high could the COVID numbers get? Dr. Juthani says each wave we have been through – especially since vaccination – is getting smaller and smaller. But, the death rate is climbing with 31 COVID fatalities in the last week in Connecticut.

“If the cases go up the way they have been particularly among the unvaccinated,” she said, “we will have mortality rates that will be similar to what we saw early in this pandemic.”

And also keep in mind Black Friday. A lot of people in a small area, masks are not required, but you can take precautions. You can continue to wear masks and social distance. The commissioner says you need to do everything you can to stay safe this holiday.

“Getting boosted is one way we can prevent that for those that are already vaccinated, and we can continue to do those things that we can do to try and prevent that rise from getting as high as possible in the weeks ahead,” Dr. Juthani added.

The one COVID number Gov. Ned Lamont’s team watches on a daily basis is hospitalizations. On Monday, Massachusetts announced they will reduce the number of elective non-emergency surgeries because their hospitals are reaching capacity. Commissioner Juthani said in Connecticut three out of every four people hospitalized by COVID are unvaccinated, but we still have plenty of capacity.

“We have 300 hospitalizations in the state,” the commissioner said. “That is a very different number than 2,000 at the peak of our first wave in the spring of 2020.”

So could we be headed back to mask mandates and closing restaurants to half capacity? The commissioner says she doesn’t think so. Enough people were vaccinated and the hospitalizations should stay low enough that we can continue moving forward as long as people continue to get vaccinated.

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