A new surveillance system created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that select counties in Connecticut have the highest hospitalization rate for coronavirus disease among jurisdictions in 14 states under review.
In most instances, the hospitalization rate in Connecticut was higher than the comparable rates in select counties in peer states, including New York and California. Connecticut’s rate was approximately 15 per 100,000 people, while New York was approximately eight and California slightly higher than two. Only counties in Michigan came close to Connecticut, with a hospitalization rate of approximately 12 per 100,000 people. Counties in Ohio, meanwhile, had about one.
The results were released Wednesday (April 8) as part of the CDC’s COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). It is the first publication of COVID-NET data and other reports analyzing the same 14 jurisdictions are expected at regular intervals. The 14 jurisdictions represent about 10 percent of the U.S. population.
The Emerging Infections Program (EIP) at Yale School of Public Health worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the CDC to gather the results for Connecticut.
“Geographically, we’re right between New York City and Boston, which are both active potential sources of COVID infections,” said Kimberly Yousey-Hindes, M.P.H., an epidemiologist at EIP, and Professor Linda Niccolai, PhD., study co-authors who oversee the data collection in Connecticut. “Connecticut also moved quickly to make COVID-19 a reportable condition so information is flowing from the hospitals to public health about these cases and has been since February.”
The CDC will use the data to better understand the most severe cases (those that are hospitalized) of COVID-19 on a national basis. In addition to hospitalization rates, the surveillance also collected data through medical record review on symptoms, risk factors, coinfections, diagnoses, treatment and outcomes, Yousey-Hindes said.
This information will shed light on a number of pressing questions about the pandemic, including which subgroups of people are having the worst outcomes, what treatment regimens are being used in hospitals and whether patients are having better outcomes on some medications than others, she said.
The COVID-NET surveillance also gathered data on the ages of those hospitalized. Very few people under 17 years old were hospitalized. The numbers increased sharply starting at age 50 and people 85 and older had the highest hospitalization rates.
“Fortunately, we were able to mount this new surveillance effort in near real-time because of the existing infrastructure that the CT EIP has built over the past 25 years as a CDC-funded program and the ready availability of outstanding staff,” Niccolai and Yousey-Hindes said.
The EIP at the Yale School of Public Health was created in 1995 and works closely with the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health to gather data on a wide variety of health threats, including food-borne illnesses, tick-related diseases, healthcare-associated infections and human papillomavirus, among others.