Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials have said hospitalizations are the number to watch to gauge where we're at in the pandemic. The numbers in Connecticut right now are not heading in a good direction.
According to data from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. One month ago there were just 25 people hospitalized. On Tuesday, there were 219.
Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief clinical officer at Yale New Haven Hospital, sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to break down what the numbers could mean.
Dan: Who are the people being admitted to the hospital? We know the vast majority are unvaccinated but are there any other trends you're noticing?
Dr. Balcezak: "Well a couple things. One, is here in the state of Connecticut those over 65 are the most vaccinated population in the state. Those people who are most vulnerable just a few short months ago now are highly vaccinated and are admitted in a smaller proportion than they were a few months ago. As you know the majority, the vast majority, more than 75% of the folks that we are seeing now in the hospital are unvaccinated.
Dan: What about kids? Anyone under 12 still can't be vaccinated. Are you seeing more kids getting the virus and getting seriously sick? Or do you expect to see that in the future?
Dr. Balcezak: "Thankfully right now we’re still seeing really small numbers across the state of Connecticut of children under the age of 12 being admitted. Now, that doesn’t mean there’s zero. There are certainly kids there being admitted. Some of them are quite sick and in our ICU. Thankfully in our hospital we have not yet had any deaths in that age group. We’re very fortunate. The best way we can keep those young kids safe is for the adults, those 12 and over, who have the ability to get the vaccine to get it."
Dan: What are you thinking about as we head into this new school year? What should parents be thinking about?
Dr. Balcezak: "With any discussion about the risk to children, I think we need to think about prevention in layers. So if the children are over the age of 12, vaccination is great. We should be seeing vaccination for younger kids later this fall or into winter. A couple of the manufacturers of the vaccines have already submitted applications to the FDA for this age group. So let’s hope they act on that. And I think that there are lessons around the country, some of which from the state of Connecticut, that you can open schools safely when you use masking, improve ventilation and distancing. And I think parents should work together with the educators in their town and school boards to put in those layers of safety. With those layers of safety you can educate kids in person safely.