Weekly Covid Update: Scott lifts curfew on restaurants, looks to 80 percent goal next week

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On Friday, Gov. Phil Scott announced he was lifting curfews on restaurants, bars and social clubs beginning Saturday, May 29, allowing those establishments to return to their normal business hours. Local municipalities are still allowed to place their own restrictions on businesses if desired.

Restaurants, bars and clubs will be able to return to pre-pandemic hours starting on Saturday May 29. Photo by Anastasia Dulgier for Unsplash

In what had been an optimistic week, vaccination numbers fell short of the 80 percent hoped-for goal that would have lifted all Covid-19 safety restrictions in the state.

The Vermont vaccination tally stands at 77 percent for all eligible Vermonters age 12 and older, with Scott unwilling to give any more accurate numbers. In the last several days the state has been working with the Centers for Disease Control to clarify actual vaccination numbers after it was discovered that several categories had been counted twice, such as those administered at VA clinics and through some pharmacy partners.

Despite this hiccup, Scott said later in the press conference, “I do feel we’re getting closer every day,” and believed that sometime at the end of next week was possible to hit the 80 percent threshold.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine also shared some positive news about lasting immunity from vaccine or from a previous Covid infection. According to Levine, new studies have shown that immunity to the Coronavirus “lasts at least a year and maybe longer,” whether gotten from having Covid-19 or through vaccination. Those who have had Covid-19 will have greater protection with a vaccination and would not need a booster shot. Those who have not been infected will likely need a booster eventually but it will last for a longer period of time than thought previously. He also said they were proving effective against all known variants.

With numbers continuing to drop and vaccination numbers nearing the 80 percent goal, officials have also announced the weekly Covid update press conference would happen just once a week, on Tuesdays, from now on.

Walk-in clinics include Ludlow, Windsor

State officials announced that 130 walk-in clinics had been scheduled throughout the state including at popular attractions such as Thunder Road Racebowl in Barre on Sunday, May 30; Orleans County Fair truck pull on and Burlington Farmers Market, both on Saturday, May 29.

There are several vaccination walk-in clinics scheduled for restaurant, hospitality and tourism workers, bringing vaccines directly to restaurants, lodging locations and ski areas, including:

  • Killington Resort on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
  • Equinox Resort in Manchester on June 1, from noon to 6 p.m.;
  • Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce in Bennington on June 2 from 3 to 6 p.m.;
  • The Woodstock Inn on June 3 from 1 to 3 p.m.;
  • The Paramount Theater in Rutland on June 7 from 3 to 6 p.m.; and
  • The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce in Ludlow on June 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More locations are being planned in the future, around the area and state. Click here to see the list with addresses.

Other walk-in clinics scheduled include:

  • Mount Ascutney Hospital in Windsor in Friday, June 4 from 9-11:30 a.m. offering Johnson & Johnson single dose;
  • Rutland Regional Clinic at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, daily from Saturday, May 29 through Sunday, June 6 (not including Memorial Day) offering Pfizer first dose; and
  • with Waterbury Ambulance at 1727 Guptil Road in Waterbury, daily from May 29 through June 1 (not including Memorial Day), offering J&J vaccine single dose.

See this link for times and other locations throughout the state. Once on the page, click “Find a walk-in clinic here.”

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 location 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 down again; county numbers lower

The town of Chester added just one new Covid case this week, down from three last week. Springfield also dropped lower, going from 11 cases to six this week. Both Cavendish and Ludlow added zero cases this week. Down from one in Cavendish and holding steady at zero in Ludlow.

Over all, Windsor County numbers dropped significantly, reporting 13 new cases versus 36 cases last week for a total of 1,472. Windham County added just 8 new cases, down from 17 new cases last week, for a total of 1,378. Rutland County also decreased sharply, adding 20 new cases, down from 44 last week for a total of 2,264. Bennington County numbers also dropped, adding 8 new cases, down from 21 last week, for a total of 2,037.

No deaths reported; statewide cases continue to drop

No new deaths were reported this week, the first time Vermont has gone without reporting a death in 28 weeks. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid-19 remains at 255. New Covid-19 cases have continued their steady decline, according to the Health Department, with just 125 new cases, dropping from 273 last week for a total of 24,190 since the beginning of the pandemic. This is the ninth straight week numbers have declined since their peak from this latest surge in early April.

The overall seven-day positivity rate held steady from the previous week’s level, staying at 1.1 percent. Hospitalizations fell from 9 to 8, with patients in intensive care going from three 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 21 through Friday, May 28.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 15 new Covid cases this week, continuing the decline from 25 last week and 45 the week prior for a total of 1,379. Covid cases reported on the School Based Covid-19 Transmission document as of Wednesday, May 23.

Agency of Education Secretary Dan French announced that his department released an updated guidance document for schools for the fall, saying it was unlikely there would need to be any mitigation measures in schools, including distancing. He said they would continue to discuss mask usage. “Schools should plan on full in-person in the fall, five days a week, essentially normal operations,” he said. Flexibility around student attendance will also not be allowed, although some remote learning would be accommodated, as it had been prior to the pandemic. The updated operational guidance for schools for fall, 2021 can be found here.

The Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been updated with daily testing available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 to 11 a.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon. The CIC Health Testing in Springfield is located at 51 Pearl St., Level 1, in Springfield. For other testing locations and information, click here.

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

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  1. Ken Bergmann says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you President Trump and our capitalist way of life! The vaccines truly have come in “Warp Speed” and certainly have saved many, many lives. Most of the rest of the world is not so fortunate.