Weekly Covid-19 Update: New cases in every county as Vermont sees another jump

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The state of Vermont saw another steep weekly jump of 139 new Covid-19 cases, up from 101 new cases last week, for a total of 2,155 cases since the pandemic started last winter, and the first week since the pandemic began that every county in Vermont had new cases.

The total positive case numbers are based on data published on the state Department of Health daily dashboard, tracking cases reported during the span from Friday, Oct. 23 to Friday, Oct. 30. The number of Covid deaths in Vermont remains at 58, a number that has not increased in nearly three months.

The outbreak tied to the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier has grown to 89 cases, more than double the reported number from last week. According to Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, this outbreak has involved 18 towns and four counties in Vermont. Four other outbreaks have also resulted from this first event including one at St. Michael’s College that now accounts for 41 positive cases, including six announced yesterday. Pieciak also said there were more exposures at 19 other locations including worksites and schools. In all, there are 473 contacts to date associated with this initial outbreak.

According to Pieciak, since Oct. 7, 26.5 percent of all cases reported in Vermont is attributable to this outbreak.

Vermont’s K-12 schools have 11 new cases and 25 total Covid cases reported as of Tuesday, on the VDH School Based Covid-19 Transmission document, up from 13 total last week. According to the report, locally there are two new cases at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, one  at Reading Elementary School, and one at the Albert Bridge School in Brownsville.

During the Friday, Oct. 30 press conference, Dr. Mark Levine, the state’s health commissioner, confirmed there were 11 situations in schools that the health department was monitoring as well as three in child-care settings.

Levine said regional health department leaders all agreed “we should do everything possible to keep our schools and child-cares open for in-person education and care as a priority.”

Levine continued to encourage Vermonters to be vigilant especially with the state’s rising numbers. “We are seeing cases go up here in Vermont but there’s still time to double down on our prevention efforts and we can still be proud of what we’ve done and what we still have left to do,” he said.

Travel conditions worsening

The travel map gives a clear visual of the worsening regional Covid-19 situation. The the latest Oct. 27 update shows Vermont surrounded by states and counties with higher and higher Covid-19 numbers, leaving only one bordering county in upstate New York still designated as safe for non-quarantining travel.

Only two counties on the larger map have improved, and 15 counties have gotten worse, leaving just 880,000 eligible for safe travel without needing to quarantine. Click this link to see the latest updates to this interactive county map.

Statewide testing of unique individuals increased from last week, with a total of 5,740 new tests given, up from 6,338 tests last week. Overall testing numbers this week remained at approximately 32,000. This larger number includes second and third tests for some people.

Chittenden County saw an increase of 61 positive cases this week for a total of 994 Washington County (Montpelier) saw an increase of 14 cases this week, down from 25 last week, now totaling 133. Windsor County added nine cases, for a total of 125. Windham County gained 11 new cases this week, up from nine last week, for a total of 151.

Six people are hospitalized with Covid-19 this week, two of those being in the ICU, up from zero. The “hospitalization under investigation” went from two to zero. The data dashboard added the ICU distinction this week, for improved transparency according to Levine.

Contacts Monitored, which includes close contacts of people who have already tested positive, went from 78 to 134. Travelers being monitored, which includes those participating in the Sara Alert system, was down this week, going from 565 to 377.

The pop-up Covid-19 testing schedule has only listed dates through Nov. 5 with no available dates for Springfield, possibly due to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The testing location is at the Springfield UU Meetinghouse on Fairground Road. Click on this link to check for further additions. This site has recently added a link to sign up to be notified of future testing dates in the area of your choice.

On Monday, Gov. Phil Scott issued changes to recreational sports guidance that limits teams to play only within Vermont borders and only with Vermont teams. The guidance also tightened policies for spectators and other activities surrounding the sporting event. For those details click here and scroll to the section 9.1 Sports/Organized Sports Including Youth Leagues, Adult Leagues, Practices, Games, and Tournaments.

Scott said that the long-awaited Vermont school winter sports guidelines would be published next week and took responsibility for their delay. With the rise of rates within Vermont and the rising cases in surrounding states, Scott “wanted to make sure they knew what they were doing.”

For more state-wide details on Covid-19 information and resources, click here.

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