Coronavirus cases in Connecticut are on the rise.
Three separate metrics used for calculating the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut are showing increases — slight increases, but possibly the beginning of a worrying trend.
“This is going in the wrong direction in a mild way,” said Scott Roberts, associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale Medical Center. “It’s kind of unclear if are we at the start of a second wave, which we’re all anticipating. And it is possible.”
Three individual metrics — the number of new cases, the percentage of tests that are positive and the transmission rate — are all showing the state moving in the wrong direction, though nowhere near the levels seen in April.
“This is showing once again, COVID is not done, COVID is not behind us,” said Lamont administration spokesman Max Reiss. “The more people going to a lot more events where people are congregating, the more the disease is going to spread.”
On Thursday the state announced a seven-day rolling average of 126 new cases. That average was 111 on Wednesday and 69 on Tuesday.
The state said Friday that an average of 1.1 percent of all coronavirus tests came back positive, increasing for the third day in a row. The positivity rate crossed the 1 percent threshold on Thursday, which it had not reached since August 3.
The disease transmission rate, as tracked by website RT.live, is at 1.07 in the state, meaning that, on average, every individual patient is passing the virus on to more than one other person.
The transmission rate has been slowly but steadily rising in Connecticut since early August.
The start of college in Connecticut could have something to do with the increases.
“There’s been a lot of incraased testing in age groups where there may be higher positivity rates,” Roberts said.
Many younger patients are asymptomatic, and it’s possible that with the ramp-up in testing among students, more COVID-19 cases are being discovered.
In fact, the majority of new coronavirus cases in Connecticut are among college-age residents, particularly those aged 20 to 29, according to data released Thursday by the state
“There is a lot more testing going on among student populations,” according to Reiss, though he said, we “can’t say it’s just statistics.”
Several colleges have reported positive coronavirus cases since the start of the Fall semester, most notably UConn, which has logged a total of 109 positive cases, as of Thursday.
Sacred Heart University said Friday that there had been a total of 31 positive cases. Nearby Fairfield University said Thursday that there have been seven cases since the start of the semester.
Central Connecticut University announced Wednesday four new cases and 17 people in quarantine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, perhaps the nation’s best-known infectious disease expert, told MSNBC on Friday that the data is troubling nationwide.
"When you have a baseline of infections that are 40,000 a day and you have threats of increased test positivity in certain regions,” he said. What we don't want to see is going into the fall season, you don't want to start off already with a baseline that's so high.”