A new tool introduced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week shows that in New London County – in fact in all eight Connecticut counties – COVID-19’s impact on health systems is “low”, the best classification that exists.
“COVID-19 Community levels“, as the CDC calls them, is based on a combination of three measurements: new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days, the percentage of staffed beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and total new COVID-19 19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days.
“New COVID-19 admissions and the percentage of manned round-the-clock beds represent the current potential for strain on the healthcare system,” the CDC said. “New case data serve as an early warning indicator of potential increases in health system load in the event of a COVID-19 increase.”
Community levels can be “low”, “medium” or “high”.
Ledge Light Health District’s latest weekly COVID-19 report, released Thursday, cited the new CDC tool and the “low” community-level designation urging New London County residents to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and stay tested for disease if they have symptoms.
Residents of counties with a “medium” community level of COVID-19 who are immunocompromised or otherwise at high risk for serious illness should also talk to their doctor about whether to wear a mask or take other precautions. Those living in counties with “high” community levels should wear a mask indoors in public.
As of Thursday, all counties in Connecticut and Rhode Island had “low” community levels, according to CDC data.
Stephen Mansfield, Ledge Lights’ health director, commented on the CDC’s new tool in an email exchange on Friday.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, LLHD has relied on guidance from the CDC to help shape our local policies,” Mansfield wrote. “Moving to this new metric is a logical development as we move from a pandemic to endemic COVID scenario as it not only takes into account community transfer rates but also the number of hospital beds used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID cases in a specific geographical area. “
“It is important for everyone to recognize that COVID is still out there and that the reduction or elimination of state and local mandates should not replace common sense measures that each of us can use to help stop the spread of COVID and other respiratory diseases, “he added.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the area have continued to decline in recent weeks. Ledge Light, which covers nine municipalities in southern New London County, reported that 201 cases of the disease had been detected in the district during the week ending Feb. 26.
During the two-week period ending Feb. 26, Ledge Light found fewer than 375 cases in community environments (not including such community settings as nursing homes, nursing homes, and probation), ranging from a low of less than five in Lyme to 107 in New London.
New London, where nearly 7,000 tests were given during the two-week period, had a positivity of less than 2%, the lowest in the district.
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London reported on Friday that it had four COVID-19 patients and Westerly Hospital had one.
State-wide data released Friday shows that 432 new cases of COVID-19 had been detected among 19,425 tests, a positivity rate of 2.22%. The admissions counted 167, four fewer than the day before. Five of the state’s counties – New London, Litchfield, Middlesex, Tolland and Windham – had no more than eight patients each. Tolland County had none.
The majority of hospital admissions – 86% – were in Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven counties.