Weekly Update: Fewer CAES students remain in quarantine; state seeks better tracing method

Some Springfield students are back to remote learning. Photo by Julia M. Cameron from Pexels

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Chester elementary school students have returned to in-person instruction this week, with only a handful of students in quarantine, according to Katherine Fogg, principal at both Chester-Andover and Cavendish Town elementary schools.

The Springfield School District’s four schools were all closed on Monday to catch up with contact-tracing efforts, but were back in session on Tuesday although, although Elm Hill Elementary and Union Street School were still operating remotely with students in the affected grades under quarantine. At the last report, six additional cases were added to the 12 from last week.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Vermont Education Secretary Dan French said that the AOE will be revising its process for contact-tracing, shifting resources to the elementary school level after hearing from many schools that current  practices were not sustainable. French admitted that contact-tracing and surveillance testing had been viewed as complimentary strategies before now, but with recent issues with limits on time and resources, those are now being viewed as competing strategies. His revised plan, which has yet to be released, will seek a “better balance to create a more sustainable approach.”

Students in schools that achieve the 80 percent vaccination rate, which is possible for schools with students above age 12, will have a letter sent home with a recommendation for testing within 3 to 5 days. Take-home PCR tests are also being piloted in five school districts throughout the state including Bennington/Rutland Supervisory Union and Windham Southeast Supervisory Union in Brattleboro.

The reported school numbers from Vermont’s Health Department website, dated Sept. 26, showed one new case, two in total at CAES; one new case and one in total at Ludlow Elementary School; and no cases reported at Green Mountain Union High/Middle School or CTES. Six cases in total cases have been reported at Riverside Middle School; Elm Hill shows four cases, four in total; Union Street School is showing five cases in this past week, six in total; and Springfield High School showed no new cases, but one from earlier in the school year. Total statewide K-12 numbers reported 144 new Covid cases with 524 since the school year began.

New cases in Windsor County remained high with 145 cases reported, up from 141 reported last week. Windham County saw a decrease in cases this week reporting 55 new cases, significantly down from 92 reported last week.

Springfield continues to top local town numbers with 51 new Covid cases reported, up from 42 cases last week. Chester reported another 10 new cases, even with last week. Ludlow reported two new cases, even with last week and Cavendish reported one new case, down from two last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

Weekly case numbers decline; deaths up

The state has reported 14 new Covid-19 deaths over the past week, up from eight reported last week. So far, 318 Vermonters have died from Covid-19. Of the most recent deaths, eight were over 80 years old, one was age 70 to 79, three were 50 to 59, one was 40 to 49 and one was  30 to 39. The state’s new case numbers began to decline this week with 1,242 new Covid cases reported, down from the weekly record 1,454 cases reported last week. The Vermont total now stands at 33,852 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state reports that 48 Vermonters are hospitalized with Covid, up from last week. Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash.

Currently, 48 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, a slight uptick from 42 last week. The number of people in intensive care has decreased from 15 to 10. The positivity rate also decreased going from 3.2 percent to 2.6 percent this week.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data from Friday, Sept. 24 to Friday Oct. 1, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Vermont remains a leader in the nation for vaccination, rates with 88 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 87.5 percent last week. Windsor County’s vaccination rate is currently at 79.5 percent up from 79 percent last week and Windham County’s rate has risen to 81.3 percent, up from 80.9 percent last week. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Pfizer booster shots are available for Vermonters 65 and older and for those 18 and older with certain medical conditions or who are employed in specific high exposure risk jobs. To see if you are eligible, click here. To schedule your booster shot, check for Pfizer availability at walk-in vaccine locations or make an appointment online.

Nearest vaccine clinics with regular weekly hours

  • Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 53 Fairview St., Brattleboro; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday.
  • Springfield Medical Care Systems, 51 Pearl St. Level 2, Springfield; 8-11 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nearest stores and pharmacies offering vaccines

Nearest walk-up clinics

Friday, Oct. 1

  • School Clinic: Bellows Falls Union High School, Westminster, 2-8 p.m.
  • Rutland Rescue Inc, Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 2

  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 4

  • School Clinic: Woodstock High School, Woodstock, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 6

  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 8

  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For details on all vaccination locations or to schedule an appointment, visit Vermont Health Department website or call 855-722-7878.

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Filed Under: Cases reportedCommunityCovid 19 CoverageEducationFeaturedLatest NewsSouthern Vermont activityWeekly Covid Update

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