Weekly Covid Update: Scott to lift all Covid restrictions once 80% of Vermonters are vaxxed

Photo by Medpage Today; Illustration by Shawn Cunningham.

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On Friday, Gov. Phil Scott extended a challenge to Vermonters saying that once the state reaches an 80 percent vaccination rate for all eligible Vermonters, he will lift all restrictions put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on state projections, the goal could be reached as soon as early June, about a month ahead of the July 4 milestone.

Scott confirmed that on July 4, all restrictions will be lifted regardless of the final number, since all eligible Vermonters will have had a chance to receive their vaccine by that time.

Currently, Vermont leads the nation with 74.9 percent vaccination rate for the eligible population, which is for those 12 and older. To reach the 80 percent threshold, an additional 27,954 jabs will need to happen. To date, 412,806 eligible Vermonters have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Although the residency requirement was removed earlier this week, meaning anyone visiting the state could receive a vaccine, the 80 percent goal remains tied to eligible Vermont residents only.

Community based vaxx clinics include Green Mountain HS

Vermont officials are continuing to reach out to unvaccinated Vermonters, going throughout the state “at the places where they work, play or live.” As an added incentive, many clinics will be distributing free maple Creemee coupons along with their shot.

In the coming weeks, the State Health Department will continue to schedule clinics at schools, hospitality venues, fairs and other large events, and are working with Vermont employers to bring vaccines directly to worksites, starting with the state’s largest employers.

EMS vaccination clinics including several in the Central-Southern Vermont region were to offer walk-in appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Saturday, May 22 including:

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

A school-based clinic for children ages 12 to 15 has been scheduled at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 24. All school-based clinics are open to all community members. An additional parental consent form needed will be shared ahead of time by the school.

Springfield School District has a school-based clinic scheduled for 9 to 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26. The full list of current school-based clinics can be found 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.

Three new vaccination walk-in clinics have been scheduled for restaurant, hospitality and tourism workers, bringing vaccines directly to restaurants, lodging locations and ski areas, including at the Equinox Resort in Manchester on June 1, and at Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce in Bennington on June 2, with more being planned in the future around the area and state. Click here to see the list.

To register for a vaccination or see where walk-in vaccinations are available visit the Vermont Health Department 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 lower

The town of Chester added three new Covid cases this week, holding steady from 3 last week. Springfield was up slightly, going from eight cases to 11 this week. Cavendish added one case, up from zero cases last week and Ludlow dropped from five new cases last week, down to zero.

Over all, Windsor County numbers continued to drop reporting 36 new cases versus 37 cases last week for a total of 1,459. Windham County added just 17 new cases, down from 18 new cases last week, for a total of 1,370. Rutland County was down, adding 44 new cases, down from 55 last week for a total of 2,244. Bennington County numbers cut in half, adding 21 new cases, down significantly from 41 last week, for a total of 2,029.

Statewide cases continue drop, three deaths reported

New Covid-19 cases have continued their steady decline, according to the Health Department, adding just 273 cases, down from 399 last week for a total of 24,065 since the beginning of the pandemic. This is the eighth 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 who died last week. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid-19 is now 255. One death from Covid-19 this week was in the age group 70-79, one death was 60 to 69, and one death was age 50 to 59.

The overall seven-day positivity rate ticked up from the previous week’s level, going from 1 percent to 1.1 percent this week. Hospitalizations fell from 12 to 9, with patients in intensive care going from two to three.

The total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data published on the Health Department’s daily dashboard from Friday, May 14 through Friday, May 21.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 25 new Covid cases this week, down significantly from 45 from last week for a total of 1,371 Covid cases reported on the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document as of Wednesday, May 19.

Cases reported the week prior to Commencement ceremonies spanning this weekend, UVM reported a total of 3 student positive cases during the week of May 10-May 16, down from 14 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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