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Medical professionals emphasize COVID-19 as 'pandemic of the unvaccinated'

The vast majority of patients in the hospital for COVID are unvaccinated

HARTFORD, Conn — The numbers don't lie -- rates of COVID transmission have been increasing across Connecticut. This raises questions for residents regarding the delta variant, vaccinations, and breakthrough cases.

Medical professionals from Hartford HealthCare including Dr. Ulysses Wu, Dr. Ajay Kumar, and APRN Keith Grant spoke on Zoom Monday to answer what have become pressing questions.

A frequent concern is the percentage of people in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 who are vaccinated and those who are not.

"So across the country, I think it remains about nine to ten, ninety percent, that are still unvaccinated. It depends on what facility on what given day we have within our hospital, so it can be, within HHC, anywhere from seventy to ninety percent. I don't think the percentage will change. I think the numbers will rise, but I think the percentage will stay the same," Wu said. 

When asked whether vaccinated people are coming to the hospital for different issues and then testing positive for COVID, Wu said it happens to very few patients.

 

RELATED: CT COVID-19 Updates: Positivity rate at 3.33%, hospitalizations continue to rise


"Some people are still coming in knowing that they’re sick, wondering if they do have COVID or if they’ve been diagnosed with COVID and their symptoms seem to be getting worse. There is a small percentage, and I will say a small minority, of people in the hospital for completely different reasons and we are just picking it up," he said. 

Hartford HealthCare verifies the vaccination status of every patient who gets tested for COVID-19 at their facilities, Grant said, as well as asking whether they have had a prior case of COVID. 

In terms of numbers, Grant said 95-99% of those in critical care are unvaccinated. Vaccinated patients who test positive for COVID have been recorded as having milder symptoms, similar to a cold or allergies.

Given the rise in positivity rates, the COVID hotline was relaunched Monday morning. However, Grant says Hartford Healthcare has sufficient infrastructure to deal with these new cases.

Dr. Kumar said Connecticut is doing well with testing, and the increase in testing people are seeing may be out of fear. 

While there has been an uptick in vaccinations given the current situation, Kumar said we need to do more.

They encourage a higher level of caution. 

RELATED: Indoor mask mandate begins today in New Haven

“I see a lot of people going back to their cars going gosh darn it, I forgot my mask,” Wu said. 

Doctors encourage washing hands and making a risk assessment to determine when to mask up and whether to attend large gatherings.

“Don’t put yourself in these situations. Social behavior drives much of these infections,” Wu said.

Kumar added that the pandemic will continue to be with us for some time, and advises Connecticut residents to take appropriate precautions to avoid future lockdowns. 

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