CT positivity rate remains above 1%; hospital admissions up

Peter Avila, a COVID testing associate, collects a self administered COVID-19 test from a patient at the Community Health Center COVID-19 testing site on the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus on June 29 in Danbury.

Peter Avila, a COVID testing associate, collects a self administered COVID-19 test from a patient at the Community Health Center COVID-19 testing site on the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus on June 29 in Danbury.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

The daily positivity rate for COVID-19 in Connecticut remained over 1 percent for the third day running on Friday, mirroring a rise in cases around the nation believed to be driven by the more-infectious delta variant.

The seven-day average of new cases has been ticking up throughout the tri-state region, as well as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, according to data tracked by The New York Times.

On Friday, the state’s one-day positivity rate stood at 1.26 percent as 139 new cases were found out of 11,039 tests. The number of patients hospitalized for the illness also rose slightly, with a net six more patients, bringing the statewide total to 44.

That uptick comes just one month since the number of people hospitalized for the illness in Connecticut reached its lowest point since the very early days of the pandemic, and as the delta variant has become the predominant strain circulating in the U.S.

Researchers believe delta is about 60 percent more transmissible than the alpha strain which caused a second lockdown in the U.K., and which was circulating widely in the United States.

Dr. Ulysses Wu, system director of infectious diseases for Hartford HealthCare, said he assumes most of the state’s infections likely are the delta variant.

He attributed the rise in cases both to delta, but also to “social behaviors” as a result of the vaccines. “We’re ripping off our masks, we’re partying like it’s 1999,” he said.

While those who are vaccinated should be protected against the variant, for the unvaccinated there’s a sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out, Wu said. “Everybody else is partying, so why can’t we party? So we’re seeing more gatherings more hangouts — so all this stuff is contributing to it,” he said.

Connecticut’s daily positivity rates reported by the state also exceeded 1 percent Thursday and Friday, marking the first time since the beginning of June more than 1 percent of tests recorded in the state had come back positive. So far, the bump in cases has remained far below the number of outbreaks the state witnessed during the fall and winter and during the start of the pandemic in spring 2020.

But the uptick comes as the nation as a whole is seeing a bump in cases, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day average of daily cases nationwide has increased nearly fivefold in the past three weeks, the agency’s data show. Some states, including Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada have seen a surge in cases, CDC data shows.