Weekly Covid Update: Scott extends emergency order even as mask mandate nixed for fully vaxxed Vermonters

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino


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On Friday, Gov. Phil Scott extended Vermont’s state of emergency for another 30 days, even as he announced the leap to Step 3 in the Vermont Forward Plan; and eliminated the mask and social distance requirements for fully vaccinated Vermonters.

As Vermont continues to lead the nation in vaccinations and having reached the goal of more than a 70 percent vaccination rate for eligible Vermonters, officials say the state reached Step 3 two weeks ahead of schedule. Step 3 means that neither testing nor quarantining is required for travel and that capacity limits have increased both indoors and outdoors. Click here for details on the Vermont Forward Plan.

Scott’s new order also eliminates the need for masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated Vermonters, which conforms with the new Centers for Disease Control national guidance released earlier this week.

Masks and social distancing are still required for public transportation, health-care and correctional facilities.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine announced that on Thursday of this week, UVM Medical Center had no Covid-19 patients for the first time since November of 2020.

Vaxx push targets hard-to-reach and the young

As the Department of Health continues to find new ways to “reach Vermonters where they are,” Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced several new vaccination clinics happening in the coming weeks including:

  • walk-in clinics offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in partnership with EMS workers throughout the state;
  • walk-in clinics for the hospitality sector set up at restaurants, lodging properties and ski areas; and
  • more than 100 school-based clinics for kids ages 12 to 15.

EMS vaccination clinics including several in the Central-Southern Vermont region will be offering walk-in appointments for the J&J vaccine on Saturday, May 22 including:

  • Ludlow and Cavendish fire departments,
  • Long Trail Brewery,
  • Woodstock High School,
  • Bennington EMS Station Facility.

Seven vaccination walk-in clinics have been scheduled for the restaurant, hospitality and tourism workers, bringing vaccines directly to restaurants, lodging locations and ski areas, including at the Woodstock Inn and at Simon Pearce in Windsor, both scheduled for earlier today, Friday, May 14, with more being planned for next week around the area and state. Click here to see the list.

With the Pfizer vaccine receiving emergency approval for children ages 12 to 15 at the beginning of this week, more that 100 school-based clinics are being scheduled for students as well as being open to other community members. The clinic covering the Two Rivers Supervisory Union will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19, at Springfield High School, 303 South Street, Springfield.  For the full list of scheduled school clinics click here.

Permission is required from parents either through a written consent form, in person or over the phone. However, registration for these clinics should happen through the state’s website as well as directly on the Kinney Drug, CVS or Walgreen websites.

Parents who would like to participate in Zoom talks with local pediatricians concerning the Covid-19 vaccine and their kids can visit this page and select the appropriate time to attend.

To register for a vaccination or see where walk-in vaccinations are available visit the Vermont Health Dept. website or call 855-722-7878.

Walgreens continues to offer vaccinations and Vermonters can register directly on its website or through the state website.  Only larger Shaw’s stores that have pharmacies will be participating in the vaccination program, which means that neither the Ludlow nor Springfield locations is participating.

Price Chopper and Rite Aid are also offering vaccines, with both the Ludlow and Springfield Rite Aid locations participating. Appointments cannot be made directly through the stores however; scheduling must happen through the state website.

Chester numbers continue lower; county numbers mixed

The town of Chester added three new Covid cases this week, up slightly from one last week. Springfield continued fell by one new case adding eight cases this week. Cavendish returned to zero cases after reporting three last week, and Ludlow added five new cases this week, up from three.

Over all, Windsor County numbers continued to drop reporting 37 new cases versus 38 cases last week for a total of 1,423. Windham County added just 18 new cases, down from 31 new cases last week, for a total of 1,353. Rutland County ticked up slightly, adding 55 new cases, up from 51 last week for a total of 2,200. Bennington County numbers remained steady, adding 41 new cases, matching last week, for a total of 2,008.

Statewide cases continue drop, three deaths reported

The Health Department reported this week that new Covid-19 cases have continued their steady decline, adding just 399 cases, down from 441 last week for a total of 23,792 since the beginning of the pandemic. This is the seventh straight week numbers have declined since their peak from this latest surge in early April.

Three Vermonters died of Covid-19 this week, the same number that died last week. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid-19 is now 252. Two deaths from Covid-19 this week were 80 years old or older, one death was age 60 to 69.

The overall seven-day positivity rate dropped back to the previous week’s level, going from 1.3 percent back down to 1 percent this week. Hospitalizations fell from 17 to 11, with patients in intensive care going from four to two.

The total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data published on the Health Department’s daily dashboard from Friday, May 7 through Friday, May 14.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 45 new Covid cases this week, up slightly from 41 from last week for a total of 1,346 Covid cases reported on the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document as of Wednesday, May 12. Agency of Education Secretary Dan French said that all Vermont schools should prepare for full in person instruction this coming fall.

As the spring semester begins to wind down, UVM reported a total of 14 student positive cases during the week of May 3-May 9, down significantly from 40 cases last week.

The Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been updated with daily testing available from now through Saturday, May 29 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. Sign up to be notified of future testing dates in the area of your choice.

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

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