Weekly Covid Update: Vaccinations to begin for Vermonters 75 and up Signups begin Monday, shots on Wednesday, with Phase 2

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On the morning of Monday, Jan. 25, Phase 2 of the Vermont vaccination plan will begin, allowing Vermonters age 75 and older to begin registering for inoculations. The first vaccines for this group will start on Wednesday.

The website and phone number for vaccination registration will be released on Monday morning. The web address and phone number will be sent out on social media, through press releases and on the healthvermont.gov website. Details on the vaccine and the vaccination process can be found here.

During the state’s bi-weekly press conference on Friday, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith urged patience with the process, saying that appointments may not be immediate or on the day preferred. But he said that this age group should be completed within five weeks. He also stressed that keeping the appointment was important and will reduce the risk of vaccine spoilage.

Administration officials asked friends and relatives of older Vermonters – who may not be tech savvy – to help them navigate the sign up process online. They said this will help ease the crush of traffic at the state’s call center.

In defending the state’s vaccination priority based on age, Smith spoke of the “moral obligation” to prioritize by age in Phase 2, since according to the data, the older you are the higher the overall risk of hospitalization and death, a sentiment also shared by Gov. Phil Scott.

As of Friday, more than 40,000 Vermonters have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  To follow the latest data on vaccination distribution in Vermont visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

The state also announced that 54 vaccinations sites in 39 municipalities will be opening. Seven of those municipalities are in Southern Vermont: Springfield, Weston, Rockingham, Windsor, Manchester, Bennington and Brattleboro.

New cases hit 1,025 but decline is seen

Friday’s  press conference was even more unusual than usual, since Scott, Smith and Health Commissioner Mark Levine were not together and are instead in quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19 on Jan. 15 and 19 press conferences.  All three have tested negative and have no symptoms but will remain in quarantine until they test negative after seven days, in accordance with the state’s health guidelines. Tonight, the governor’s office announced that Smith and Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling tested negative today and have exited quarantine.

Although the new Covid-19 weekly case totals topped 1,000 for the third week in a row, new case counts, deaths and positivity rate have seen a steady decline since all saw their highest peaks two weeks ago. There are 1,025 new cases reported, down from 1,115 last week, and 1,207 the week before, for a total of 10,759; six more Vermonters died, down one from the seven reported last week, and down significantly from the 20 tallied the week before. The total number of deaths in Vermont now stands at 169.  The rate of those who have tested positive for Covid now sits at a “manageable and best in the nation 2.5 percent,” according to Levine, down from 2.7 percent last week and the 2.9 percent from two weeks ago.

The total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data published on the state’s daily dashboard from Friday, Jan. 15 through Friday, Jan. 22.

Hospitalizations have also continued to decline this week with 43 and five in ICU, down from 44 hospitalizations with six in ICU a week ago.

The Health Department is following 52 outbreaks; 21 in long-term care facilities, 19 in workplaces and five in schools. Levine said that although they were still seeing outbreaks, they were not having as great an impact as seen in late October and early November.

In Vermont’s K-12 schools, there are 46 new Covid cases, about even with the 45 reported last week, with 373 total Covid cases reported as of Wednesday, Jan. 20. You can see those numbers of the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document.

Statewide testing of unique individuals averaged 1,200 per day, down slightly from 1,300 per day last week. Total tests given averaged over 6,400, staying consistent with last week’s overall testing numbers.

The Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been updated with daily testing available from now through Sunday, Feb. 7 with varying times each day. The CIC Health Testing in Springfield is located at 51 Pearl St., Level 1, in Springfield. 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.

New Covid-19 positive cases decline in Windsor, Windham counties

Chittenden County lead the county case counts with 354 new cases reported, up from 308 reported last week for a total of 3,773.

Both Windsor and Windham counties, which had seen record-breaking numbers over the last few weeks, were both showing a decline. Windsor added 89 new cases, down from the 149 cases last week for a total of 767. Windham County added 62 new cases, down from 85 new cases last week for 742 total cases.

Bennington County jumped by 143 cases this week, up from 118 new cases last week for a total of 864. Addison County, which had been leading in county positivity rate last week, added 56 new cases, down from the 88 new cases reported last week, for a total of 548.

For more state-wide details on COVID-19 information and resources, click here or this week’s weekly data summary can be found here.

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