NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — New London County is now among three in the state that have reached a high transmission rate of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health leaders in New London say they are now seeing very sick patients with the new delta variant.
Even before New London county reached the level of having a high transmission rate for COVID 19 the Garde Arts Center made masks mandatory and brought in new sanitizing and cleaning equipment.
It already had a superior air conditioning system.
“Every 20 minutes the air inside the Garde Theater is replaced with fresh outside air and then in this lobby every seven minutes,” said Steve Siegel, Executive Director of the Garde Arts Center.
“It’s definitely a concern,” said Cynthia Tucker, MD, Associate Director of the Emergency Department at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. “We’ve seen this uptick for about the last month.”
On June 15 and 16, Lawrence+Memorial Hospital celebrated because it had zero COVID patients. Wednesday is a different story.
“This is, unfortunately, the exact opposite. We are right back up,” said Dr. Tucker. “We have more than ten patients in the hospital, several in ICU and intubated.”
Most of those now have the Delta variant.
“I’d say the big difference currently is that this is truly a pandemic of the unvaccinated and we’re seeing younger healthier patients who are very sick,” said Dr. Tucker.
News 8 did ask New London Mayor Michael Passero about a possible mask mandate and he said because New London is so small land-wise it wouldn’t be very effective because people could just go to the next town over to go to a store or restaurant if they didn’t like the mandate.
He said a regional or statewide mandate would be more effective and the local health district and hospital seem to agree.”
“We easily cross borders and I think if we did something we should do it in a uniform manner for our region,” said Dr. Tucker.
In the meantime, mandates are an individual decision which at the Garde has so far been welcomed by patrons.
“In fact, it’s encouraging to a lot of them because they know that they’re more likely to be even safer in the theater,” said Sigel.