September 22, 2021
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Connecticut continues to rise, Hartford HealthCare has announced expanded testing opportunities for people, starting with the reopening of its testing site in Newington.
The drive-thru site at 181 Patricia M. Genova Drive reopened on Monday to help accommodate the growing number of symptomatic people.
It comes as experts at Hartford HealthCare continue to emphasize the value of vaccination against the potentially deadly virus and dismiss concerns that breakthrough infections indicate the vaccine is not working.
“We are seeing it nationwide where the vaccine is seen as disease prevention,” said Dr Ulysses Wu, director of the infectious disease system and chief epidemiologist at Hartford HealthCare (HHC) at a conference press release Monday. âIt’s about protecting those who contract the disease to make the disease less serious. “
Dr Ajay Kumar, clinical director of HHC, noted that new variants of COVID-19 – Lambda and Mu – are present in Connecticut and, with young people returning to schools and universities, epidemics dot the state. .
âThere is still significant suffering a year and a half later. The vaccine is the right strategy to prevent death, âhe said.
Although he declined to comment specifically on a recent outbreak of the virus on the Connecticut College campus, Dr Kumar urged people to remain cautious as a good number of people are not vaccinated.
Infection rates and hospitalizations have increased, and he said 25 to 27% of people currently hospitalized with COVID have been vaccinated. However, only about 10 percent of them came to seek help for related symptoms. Others came to the hospital with other medical problems and were tested for the virus as a protocol.
The need for a vaccine booster this fall also does not diminish the potency of the COVID-19 vaccination against the potentially fatal virus that has been raging in pandemic waves since March 2020, Dr Wu added.
âWe have the ability to adapt to new variants,â he said of the booster. “They are also needed to boost immunity.”
Booster shots produced by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, at the same dose as the original vaccine, are expected to begin for those immunocompromised later this month thanks to HHC’s acute care facilities and community vaccination efforts. Dr Wu said it is important to get the booster that matches the initial vaccination received.
âWhat they call ‘mix and match’ is possible in the future, but not now,â he said, adding that Johnson & Johnson were in the middle of the regulatory approval process for their booster. “I think we’ll see that in a month or two.”
Regarding the HHC workforce, Dr Kumar said 97 percent of full-time colleagues are fully immunized, as are 99.2 percent of medical staff. He expected the numbers to climb even more as the system’s vaccination deadline draws near later this month.
âThe vaccine works,â Dr Wu stressed. âThis is our way forward if we are to ever beat this disease. It’s not just about you, either. The vaccine helps stop the disease from spreading to others.