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February 19, 2021

Yale COVID-19 hospitalization rate continues to improve

Dr. Thomas Balcezak speaks to the media during a virtual press conference Thursday.

The population of patients with COVID-19 in Yale New Haven Health’s facilities has continued its downward trend, with 201 in-patients with the virus as of Thursday.

That includes 95 at Yale New Haven Hospital, 62 at Bridgeport Hospital, 28 at Greenwich Hospital, 13 at Lawrence + Memorial in New London, and three at Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island, according to CEO Marna P. Borgstrom.

Of these, 52 were in intensive care and 31 were on ventilators, she said.

“The trend is definitely working the way we hoped it would, thanks to social distancing and vaccinations,” Borgstrom said.

A month ago, there were 369 in-patients with the virus across the health system. It experienced a second wave high of about 461 COVID-19 in-patients in December, down from over 800 last spring.

Dr. Thomas Balcezak, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, attributed the decline to three factors: more people developing natural immunity after being infected, vaccinations, and social distancing efforts.

“There are more infectious variants, and if people become complacent, we could have a third wave,” Balcezak said.

Balcezak has previously indicated that the system needed to receive more vaccines for its vaccination campaign

In a Thursday morning press briefing, Balcezak said the system received 12,000 vaccine doses this week, which is more in line with what it needs to handle the demand. Even so, the system is exhausting its weekly supply, he said.

To date, the system has delivered 82,000 doses, with some 52,000 individuals getting a first dose and 30,000 receiving both doses.

He noted some individuals, even within the health system, have been hesitant to get vaccinated due to fears about potential negative effects.

Balcezak, who has been vaccinated himself, said the system has been doing a public information campaign to help alleviate those fears.

“This vaccine is safe, and we really need to get to 80 percent (of the population vaccinated) to get to community immunity,” Balcezak said.

When asked about Gov. Ned Lamont’s plans to roll back restrictions on businesses, Borgstrom praised Lamont’s approach. 

“The Governor has a tough job - people have been hit hard with the loss of jobs and income,” Borgstrom said. “He has to keep in mind that the longer the lockdown, the longer it takes to recover.”

“He has been taking things slowly,” she added. “We are all anxious to get back to normal. If we retain a healthy respect for the virus, we can do this in a thoughtful, phased way.”

Lamont’s office reported on Thursday that the state has had 271,903 COVID-19 cases, and 7,496 deaths.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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