On the COVID Front

In the last couple days, Connecticut was downgraded from severe outbreak to active outbreak on the COVID ACT Now web site  (Hartford County remains listed as severe outbreak).  Being labeled active outbreak is not great, but at least we seem to be moving in the right direction.  While I am only working one or, some weeks, two shifts a week on the road, my sense is that things are getting better.  I further back that up by my work at the hospital where I track COVID patients being brought in by EMS, and can report that after a significant rise several weeks back, the counts have been relatively stable.  I am not seeing the regular severity of cases that I saw in the spring, which is not to say there are not sick COVID patients and that no one is dying.  There are very sick patients and people are dying.  It just doesn’t seem as bad as it was in the spring.  Part of that reason is that in contrast to the spring, regular patients are now calling 911 where in the spring they stopped.  In the spring, it seemed the only patients we saw were those with COVID, those who thought they had COVID, psychiatric patients, and a handful of other patients who were forced to seek emergency medical attention due to stroke, falls with broken hips, etc.  Also, in the spring because the volume was so low, we cut ambulances, so you had the phenomena of fewer cars to handle the load of COVID patients where now they are dispersed among many more responders.  I worked yesterday and while I heard a number of COVID calls go out, other than my surgical mask and face shield, I never had to don an N95, or gown up; where in the spring, I regularly went through four or five full sets of PPE a shift.  I did one presumption of an elderly person who died at home and was not found for several days, but I have no evidence that it was a COVID excess death.

I hope this is not just a lull before another spike up, and I also hope this is not a long, long plateau.  I think Connecticut, which was hit so hard in the Spring (when even in EMS we were not wearing masks for every patient as we are now), is now used to universal citizen masking in public so we may not be getting hit as hard as those states where masking is more of a political issue than an understood public health necessity.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was fortunate to be among the first to get a vaccine here, and I am glad to see many of my peers are also getting their vaccines.  There have been kinks in the rollout due to conflicting information coming from the state about where EMS providers can get their vaccines, complicated by less vaccines being delivered than promised.  I am hopeful that all EMS responders will soon have the information and appointment slots they need.  I also hope that responders will fully consider the science backing the vaccines and embrace the principle that getting vaccinated not only protects you and your family, but it protects the larger community by reducing the number of reservoirs available for the virus.  Without people to infect, the virus will die.  That’s how we get life back to normal.

I am now three days post vaccine and can report I had zero side effects and am looking forward to my second dose in early January.

Stay safe all.

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Connecticut Hospitalizations from University of Minnesota tracking project.

https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/mili-misrc-covid19-tracking-project