coronavirus in connecticut

With COVID-19 Cases Down, Doctors Urge Patients to Prioritize Other Health Care

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There’s no question coronavirus cases are down compared to the height of the crisis.

“In the midst of all this, we peaked at over 800 cases across the health system. Today we have fewer than 30,” said Yale New Haven Hospital’s Chief clinical Officer Dr. Thomas Balcezak,

“Our coronavirus census is 10. In contrast, over a year ago that was well over 100. A very different picture at this time,” said Dr. Phillip Roland, the chief medical officer at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.

There’s a sigh of relief across the state.

At St. Francis Hospital there are no longer cars idling in traffic for hours for testing or that National Guard tent positioned for a potential overflow of patients, like there was months ago.

But, hospitals across the country are now dealing with a different issue.

“We certainly have a concern that people neglected or postponed necessary health care over the past year and now they’re having a crisis that needs to be cared for, unrelated to the pandemic, but certainly caused or precipitated by the pandemic over the past year,” said Roland.

Balcezak is seeing this too, as YNHH also scales back on temporary coronavirus isolation areas instead incorporating them as a permanent feature for our future.

“We’ve designated different units across our health system to take care of COVID patients, hopefully a small number.”

Balcezak says three floors of the Smillow Cancer Hospital had been transformed into rooms to treat only coronavirus patients.

As of this week, they’ve all been turned back into caring specifically for those battling cancer.

Middletown’s Department of Health says they’ve been able to scale back on contact tracing with only five cases from May 30 through June 5.

But with the contract for a group of state contact tracers ending in July, the city’s acting director of health expects that work locally will continue to stay busy.

Because while COVID-19 cases are down and there’s a much lower positivity rate, doctors we spoke to say precautions still need to be taken.

“We are not completely out of the woods,” said Balcezak.

They say a risk still exists, specifically for one group in particular.

“I can tell you that we’ve looked at those people who have came to their emergency room and we've found to have COVID-19 infection more than 95% were unvaccinated. COVID-19 is rapidly becoming a problem of unvaccinated individuals in our community. So please get vaccinated,” said Roland.

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