Yale New Haven Health, Hartford Healthcare address latest info on COVID variants detected in CT


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale New Haven Health gave an update Thursday on what they were seeing with COVID-19 variant strains. Some information reveals that the U.K. variant appears to be becoming a dominant strain here.

The more sequencing labs here in Connecticut do, the more cases of that highly-contagious U.K. variant they detect. The message is to keep doing what we’re doing in terms of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene, plus vaccinations to try to stay ahead of the variants.

Yale leaders addressed one concern Thursday, that – if we let our guard down and are not careful – the more infectious strains could lead to a third COVID wave here in CT.

Yale’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Balcezak shared the results of one round of testing on positive COVID results that showed signals of the U.K. variant that were done by Yale’s Lab Director Marie Landry.

“The proportion that is the U.K. variant – the B117 – that she selected, increased from one out of thirty in mid-January to 21 out of twenty-five samples tested last week. That’s a selective sample; that’s not a random sample.”

Yale, like so many places, is ramping up their sequencing.

RELATED: Yale doctor weighs in on new report showing 2 COVID variants have merged into ‘heavily-mutated hybrid’ virus

WEB EXTRA: Chief of Infectious Diseases with Hartford HealthCare’s Hartford Hospital Dr. Virginia Bieluch, joins News 8 to talk more about CT’s cases of the UK variant, and a newly-detected case of the so-called South African variant.

The provider is also not mandating that employees get vaccinated against COVID, but trying to encourage with things like education and stickers for those who have been vaccinated to show their willingness.

Seventy percent of Yale’s staff is vaccinated, but only 40 percent of Black employees are. So, like the community at large, more work has to be done to bring those numbers up.

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