The number of new COVID-19 cases in Connecticut continues to increase, as the Delta variant takes hold in the state, according to The Connecticut Mirror.
The state officials report 409 new cases Monday, representing a 1.53% positivity rate.
The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, has taken a strong foothold, making it the dominant strain in the state, according to Dr. Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.
The number of new cases related to the Delta variant is expected to increase in the coming weeks.
Dr. Grubaugh said, “The main takeaway is that we will see a rise in cases in Connecticut due to the Delta variant unless something drastic happens. My hope is that we have things in control by the time that school starts.”
Meanwhile, in other states where Delta is dominant, the number of hospitalizations and deaths is on the rise.
Connecticut has the highest vaccination rate compared to other states so it is unlikely that the state will see the same magnitude of the surge in hospitalizations and deaths.
As of Monday, more than 87% of the state’s 65-74 population is fully vaccinated and over 83% of the state’s 75+ population has received their shots. And more than 70% of the state’s 12+ population has full protection against COVID.
However, some parts of the state have seen a considerably lower vaccination rate, making them vulnerable to outbreaks.
Keith Grant, Senior Assistant Director for Infectious Prevention at Hartford Healthcare, said he expects to see a surge in hospitalization as the number of new cases increases in the state, but the magnitude of that surge is not expected to be high than other states.
Grant said, “We went from .3% to 1.2% … and now we’re 1.5%. So that’s a good rate of change.”
“Although there’s no mask mandate … if you have a sniffle, wear your mask. If you believe you’re going to be amongst a group of people where you have no idea what their vaccine status is, everyone in those parties should be wearing a mask,” he added. “Unless there’s absolute certainty that everyone’s vaccinated, and we know that’s not happening.”
“Although there is no mandate in place for a number of these areas, we just need to be very, very mindful,” Grant explained.
Preliminary research suggests that the FDA-approved vaccines provide protection against the Delta variant.
Dr. Grubaugh said, “Our vaccines work the best when we give them less work to do. And we’re heading toward the direction in which we’re going to be giving our vaccines a lot of work to do.”
Grant has warned people who are not yet vaccinated. He said, “They’re dealing with a different virus. It’s a completely different beast from what we have seen before. That to me is my biggest concern.”