After weeks of slow or empty COVID-19 units, hospitals in southeastern Connecticut are treating COVID-19 patients again.
"Significant change from just two, three weeks ago," said Dr. Craig Mittleman, regional director for emergency services at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London. “People were somewhat celebrating what we thought was the end of the pandemic. We have since seen a dramatic rise in hospitalizations.”
In the last 10 days, six COVID-19 patients have been admitted to L&M Hospital. Yale New Haven Health, which includes L&M, is treating more than 30 COVID-19 patients system-wide.
“Several of them across the system are in the ICU, intensive care unit and there are a number of them that are intubated on ventilators," said Mittleman.
According to Mittleman, the majority of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. He described the situation as "frustrating".
"Dealing with public health emergencies is one thing when you don’t have a solution and you have a lack of knowledge like we had a year and a half ago, but we have a solution," said Mittleman.
Hartford HealthCare's East Region, which includes Backus and Windham Hospitals, are also seeing a recent increase in COVID hospitalizations.
“I think the CDC has rightly termed this the pandemic of the unvaccinated at this time," said Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford Healthcare's chief epidemiologist.
Doctors from both hospitals stressed that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe illness and death. They said that people who are fully vaccinated will be more protected.
“About 95% protected with regard to the things that matter- hospitalizations, death, fatalities," said Mittleman.