Weekly Covid Update: 16 more Vermonters die as new cases hit 778 Dr. Levine: No surge from Thanksgiving yet seen

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The Vermont Department of Health reported 16 more deaths this week, up from 10 last week, along with a new Covid-19 case count that skyrocketed by a record-breaking 778, up from 758 reported last week. Deaths in Vermont from Covid now stand at 93 deaths, with a total of 5,541 cases.

Reaching another unfortunate record, Vermont added 1,000 cases, from the 4,000 to 5,000 thresholds, in the span of just nine days, beating the old record by 2 days.

Of the new fatalities, one person was between the ages of 30 and 39, one was 50 to 59, two were 70 to 79, and 12 over the age of 80.

The total positive case numbers and death statistics are based on data published on the state Health Department’s daily dashboard tracking cases reported during the span from Friday, Dec. 4 to Friday, Dec. 11.

Despite the surge in cases, Vermont’s seven-day positivity rate decreased from 2.8 percent to 2.4 percent. According to Dr. Mark Levine, the state’s health commissioner, none of the recent contact tracing efforts revealed clusters resulting from Thanksgiving gatherings.

“While our cases remain higher than we’ve been used to seeing, they’ve remained fairly stable lately and there’s been no escalating spike…on the data,” Levine said.

The Health Department is currently following 38 outbreaks and more than 220 situations. Ten of those outbreaks are in senior care facilities, representing more than 300 positive cases including 99 at Elderwood in Burlington, 66 at Rutland Health and Rehab, 44 at St. Alban’s Health and Rehab, and 41  at Four Seasons Care Home in Northfield.

The Health Department’s contact-tracing teams began using their new text notification system yesterday. The system can send out notifications more quickly to alert close contacts of Covid positive cases. According to Levine, these texts will not replace a personal exchange with a contract tracer but will only act as a more rapid alert. The number the alert will come from is 89-361. Levine said that if you get a text from that number, it is “a legitimate and important message.”

Hospitalizations decreased slightly from 29 to 26, with zero hospitalizations under investigation. Patients in the ICU have risen from three to five. No patients are currently on a ventilator.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 26 new cases, with 171 total Covid cases reported as of Wednesday, Dec. 9, on the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document. Higher education data will not be reported again until colleges and universities return for the spring semester.

Daily Covid-19 testing available in Springfield

Statewide testing of unique individuals recorded 10,366 tests given, up significantly from last week’s 8,700 new test number. Total tests given this week, which may include second and third tests, came in at 35,542, an increase of almost 10,000, up from the 26,691 tests reported last week. This data reported according to the data dashboard.

The Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been updated with daily testing available seven days a week through Sunday, Dec. 20, with varying times each day. The CIC Health Testing in Springfield is located at 51 Pearl St., Level 1. Click on this link to check for specific times each day. This site has recently added a link to sign up to be notified of future testing dates in the area of your choice.

Chittenden County continued to lead every Vermont county in cases, with 262 this week, up slightly from 223 reported last week. It now has a total of 1,950. New cases totals in Washington County continued to decline, with numbers this week at 78, down from 112 cases reported last week and from 123 the week before. It has a total of 814. Orange County added 33 new cases, matching last week’s number, for a total of 270 cases. Rutland County was slightly up with 39 cases, just up from 32 last week for a total of 307.

Windsor County saw a jump, going from 28 new cases last week to 58 this week, for a total of 285. Windham County numbers were down with 47 new cases, down from 60 last week, for a total of 323.

Contacts Monitored, which includes close contacts of people who have already tested positive, increased slightly from 169 to 172. Travelers being monitored, which includes those participating in the Sara Alert system, decreased from 227 to 185.

The Vermont Alert system can now be used to keep Vermonters informed about Covid-19. Log on to vtalert.gov to register for a free account and choose your options for alert data including what data to receive and how you want to receive your alerts.

During Friday’s press conference, Gov. Phil Scott reiterated that winter high school sports and regional sports would continue to be on hold until further notice.

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

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