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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    COVID-19 cases projected to peak April 25 in Connecticut

    The Day continues to get many coronavirus-related questions from readers, and we're trying to answer several at a time on a weekly basis. You can submit questions at theday.com/coronavirusquestions.

    When is the virus expected to peak in SE CT? How many cases/deaths are predicted? Are area hospitals equipped with enough beds, PPE and ventilators to treat those afflicted? How many are hospitalized now? If area hospitals are overwhelmed, how and where will the afflicted be treated?

    Projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, last updated Monday, show the peak — measured in terms of beds needed — happening in Connecticut on April 25. The state has seen 602 COVID-19-associated deaths so far, according to the latest data from Gov. Ned Lamont's office, and this model projects 5,426 deaths by Aug. 4. That's 812 more deaths than the model was projecting on Friday.

    IHME does not go to county-level, but the dashboard from Massachusetts software company Hospital IQ does. This model — which aggregates data from the IHME, Johns Hopkins University and other sources — also projects that peak hospital utilization for New London County will be on April 25, with 1,178 exposed and 69 deaths by June 11.

    The state reported Monday that 1,760 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Connecticut, up 106 from the day before.

    While Connecticut has struggled to acquire personal protective equipment, state officials said last Thursday they believe things are turning around. Lamont said the state has validated 259 sources for PPE and have placed 78 orders.

    Outside of hospitals, Lamont on Saturday signed an executive order establishing COVID-19 recovery centers at Northbridge Healthcare Center in Bridgeport and Sharon Health Care Center, for people who can be discharged from acute care hospitals but are still impacted by infection.

    The Connecticut National Guard is also working to transform the Connecticut Convention Center into a COVID-19 recovery center with 646 beds. Capt. David Pytlik said this is for patients that still require things like IVs and oxygen but not for patients requiring ventilators, NBC Connecticut reported.

    Dozens of Lawrence + Memorial nurses have been traveling to Fairfield County, the epicenter of the pandemic in Connecticut, and they can expect reciprocation if and when the surge moves east.

    Last week, the president of Greenwich Hospital said the hospital had 20 ventilators that weren't currently in use, The Connecticut Mirror reported. Trinity Health spokesperson Amy Ashford said the they have "adequate PPE and are prepared for the surge," but state officials haven't provided hospital-by-hospital information on supplies or needs.

    The weather is changing should we be worried about transmissions from mosquitoes?

    "To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes," the World Health Organization says. "The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose."

    Was there a serious influenza outbreak the year after the 1918 flu pandemic? Did they have a vaccine in 1919? Can we expect that we will not have a relapse of COVID-19 next year? Even if we have effective medications or a vaccine by then, many poor countries will not have it available.

    There were three waves of the 1918 flu pandemic, Ledge Light Health District nurse practitioner Mary Day noted: spring of 1918, fall of 1918, and winter of 1918 to spring of 1919. She added that an influenza vaccine was not developed until 1938.

    "We do not have enough data yet to make predictions about COVID-19 for next year, though some public health models are predicting several waves of the virus," Day said in an email Monday.

    If you live alone how often should you wipe down phone, computer, surfaces , hands etc

    "You should wash your hands before eating, before touching your face (if you must), after using the restroom, after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose, and after you have been in public," Day said. "For example, if you went to the grocery store and handled cash or entered a pin number on a key pad, wash your hands. If you filled your gas tank, wash your hands. If you touched a grocery cart, wash your hands."

    She said there's no specific guidance on the frequency of cleaning household items for those who live alone, but that high-touch surfaces should be cleaned routinely.

    If I have a daughter who has severe asthma is it dangerous for me to still be going to work at an assisted living? I am so afraid to bring it home to her.

    "People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19," the CDC says. "COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease."

    Mary Day commented, "You are likely considered to be an essential employee, so I would encourage you to work this out with your employer," Day said. "You have to consider the risks and make the decision that is best for you and your family."

    Christopher Carter, president of the Connecticut Assisted Living Association, suggested contacting your daughter's primary care physician.

    Does bike riding put you at risk? Should you wear a mask while riding?

    Steve Mansfield, director of Ledge Light Health District, is an avid bike rider and still rides almost daily, but all his rides are solo or with his wife.

    "We're out in the woods, we're far from other people, and we avoid times when there may be congestion at some of the state parks and so forth," he said. "We ride at times when a lot of other people aren't out."

    He does not wear a mask in this case and would not recommend wearing one if you're not coming into contact with other people.

    But he also is not riding with anybody besides his wife, because "it's safe to assume that if you are riding with other bicycle riders and you are riding behind someone who's breathing, the potential for inhaling droplet contamination is there."

    e.moser@theday.com

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