Healthcare specialists discuss how to gather with family safely for the holidays as cases rise in CT


HARTORD, Conn. (WTNH) -If you are gathering with family and friends for Christmas, what should you know to keep everyone safe?

Days before Christmas, the COVID outlook is changing rapidly. CDC officials say 70 percent of cases over the past eight days are from the new omicron variant.

“So, we’re not seeing an introduction of a variant that’s not just a variant, but is more contagious than Delta and is now theoretically the dominant variant,” said Keith Grant, Hartford Healthcare, Senior System Director for Infection Prevention.

Should you feel good about gathering with loved one?

“I think it’s very important for us to try to get together. What we’ve seen over the last few months is a significant impact on mental health,” Grant said.

Infectious disease leaders at Hartford HealthCare say it’s important to gather safely, but it’s important to remember safe means differing things for different groups.

“So, if you have a 90-year-old grandmother like I do, this is someone who is at high risk of who can get the disease. I have cousins that are in their teens. They’re less risky from a morality, critical care needing perspective,” Grant said.

The majority of people hospitalized are unvaccinated and breakthrough cases are among those vaccinated over six months ago.

“We do have the means to keep you safe and more importantly you have the means to keep yourself safe,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

On Wednesday, there were 272 people hospitalized across Hartford HealthCare’s system. To put that in perspective, on Oct. 29, there were just 55 people hospitalized and they expect those hospitalizations will creep back up after the holiday.

“We’re seeing unfortunately, individuals who are over 65 predominately and individuals with high risk comorbidities,” Grant said.

Grant says if you’re unsure about how to gather, stick with the safe way, which means:

  • Get boosted
  • Mask up
  • Social distance
  • Test

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