WECAN Initiative Report Dec. 21: a ‘shot of hope’ as Moderna vaccines arrive in state

Keith Grant, Senior System Director at Hartford HealthCare, with a vial of one of the Moderna COVID vaccines that arrived today in the state. Photo via Hartford HealthCare's Facebook page.
Keith Grant, Senior System Director at Hartford HealthCare, with a vial of one of the Moderna COVID vaccines that arrived today in the state. Photo via Hartford HealthCare's Facebook page.

Headlines: The first doses of the Moderna COVID vaccines arrived in the state on Monday, Dec. 21 at Hartford HealthCare’s headquarters in Hartford.
The Moderna vaccine was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday, Dec. 18, almost two weeks after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for emergency use.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said that the state would receive about 63,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, along with another 24,375 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Previously, the state received 31,200 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
“Delivering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the dawn of a new day,” Hartford HealthCare President Jeffrey Flaks said at a press conference. “Today, delivering the Moderna vaccine, this is a shot of hope. We will administer 10,000 vaccines this week. Our health system is building itself to deliver a high amount of vaccines not only across our health system but for all of our front line health care workers.”
Flaks said that vaccine clinics have been set up at hospitals in all of Hartford HealthCare’s system, including Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington.
He said that Hartford HealthCare is scheduled to open a vaccine clinic at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford on Monday, Dec. 28.
“As we get more vaccines, we will build community access points,” Flaks said. “We’re working closely with the Department of Public health as we move from 1a into additional groups who become eligible. We want to get these vaccines to as many people as safely and quickly as we possibly can.”
Keith Grant, Senior System Director at Hartford HealthCare, said that the Moderna vaccine is much easier to store than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
“The Moderna vaccine can be frozen at the regular temperature of minus 20 degrees and it doesn’t need to be stored in dry ice, like the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine,” Grant said. “With the Moderna vaccine, we have a lot more flexibility in the clinics that we can store it in. We don’t have to try to use it up in five days or deal with the ultra-cold storage. The big difference is that it can be put in a lot of clinic settings outside of hospitals. Operationally, it has a big advantage over the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.”

On Monday, Dec. 21, the state reported that the COVID-19 total case rate is now 167,377, an increase of 4,595 since Dec. 18.
However, the daily positivity rate has dropped down to 5.18 percent. Down from 6.85 percent on Dec. 18.
“We are not out of the woods, but perhaps things are stabilizing,” Gov. Lamont said during a press conference. “This is about the same number we were at about a month ago before Thanksgiving. Just remember that Thanksgiving resulted in a small surge here in Connecticut as well as many other places across the country.”
There are currently 1,143 patients hospitalized, an decrease of 38 since Dec. 18.
A total of 5,676 residents have died due to COVID, an increase of 95 residents since Dec. 18.

Litchfield County:
Dec. 20 total cases: 6,740
Dec. 17 total cases: 6,515
Dec. 16 total cases: 6,385
Dec. 15 total cases: 6,270

Dec. 20 total cases: 333
Dec. 17 total cases: 325
Dec. 16 total cases: 310
Dec. 15 total cases: 291

Dec. 20 total cases: 1,778
Dec. 17 total cases: 1,728
Dec. 16 total cases: 1,704
Dec. 15 total cases: 1,691

Dec. 20 total cases: 78
Dec. 17 total cases: 73
Dec. 16 total cases: 71
Dec. 15 total cases: 68

Dec. 20 total cases: 24
Dec. 17 total cases: 24
Dec. 16 total cases: 23
Dec. 15 total cases: 23

New Hartford:
Dec. 20 total cases: 168
Dec. 17 total cases: 162
Dec. 16 total cases: 155
Dec. 15 total cases: 153

Dec. 20 total cases: 44
Dec. 17 total cases: 43
Dec. 16 total cases: 40
Dec. 15 total cases: 40

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as of Dec. 21, there are 17,790,376 COVID cases in the United States, an increase of 197,616 new cases since yesterday. There are now 316,844 deaths in America due to COVID, an increase of 1,584 since yesterday.

Testing: Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s drive-thru testing is at 211 High Street in Torrington from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Community Health and Wellness in Torrington will continue with its free COVID testing on Fridays in December, except for Christmas Day. The testing will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 469 Migeon Avenue. The testing is a walk-in with no appointments or referrals necessary.
Mental health resources: 24-hour crisis hotline: 1-888-444-3339 or text “LISTEN” 741-741
Greenwoods Counseling Referrals: Mental health and substance use assessments, treatment, and referrals. Financial assistance available 860-567-4437

Addiction: Community Outreach and Recovery Navigator Sarah Toomey 860-309-3845. Free and confidential support, resources, NARCAN, harm reduction for the entire family.
Western CT Mental Health: Higher level of psychiatric and substance abuse care 860-496-3700.