pandemic challenges

Post-Holiday COVID Spike is Here

Public health leaders are tracking an uptick in COVID cases statewide.

It has been two weeks since the Christmas holiday and public health leaders in Connecticut are starting to see the anticipated post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases.

"Here in the first week of January, we have seen an increased number of cases and our test positivity rate is going up as well," Deidre Gifford, the state's acting public health commissioner, told NBC Connecticut. "We are concerned."

According to data released by the state on Friday, a total of 37 more people have died of COVID-19 and the positivity rate has jumped up to 8.46%. The death toll is now 6,324.

The statewide uptick is being felt by local health departments, including the Uncas Health District.

"Our fear was that this could occur. Our hope was that it wouldn't and, in fact, it has," said Patrick McCormack, director of health for the Uncas Health District, which covers parts of the Norwich region. "I anticipate that the surge will continue for another week or two, in all likelihood."

McCormack stressed that there is hope on the horizon. He said that his department has already held a vaccine clinic.

"Let’s get these numbers down as a community and make sure we can get where we need to be in a few months," said McCormack.

He added that the local hospitals have not become overwhelmed, at this point, by the uptick in cases.

The state released a breakdown of hospital capacities and they say they will continue to monitor.

“There are hospitals that are getting close to capacity, and we do have the ability to share capacity in a state our size, but if you look at the state as a whole we do continue to have adequate capacity, thank goodness," said Gifford.

Gifford said that, for months, the state has been predicting that the second peak of COVID cases would top out in January. She said that is still the prediction.

In the meantime, she reminds people that they have the power to control the spread of the virus.

“It is why we need to double down on the masks," said Gifford.

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