Vermont, Chester continue upward Covid trend Moderna, J&J booster shots now available

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For the second straight week, Covid-19 numbers in Vermont and in Chester have reached new record highs,  again bucking the national trend.

Vermont saw a new case weekly total of 1,590 topping last week’s record of 1,526; Chester’s new Covid-case numbers again are well into double digits with 23 new cases, up from the previous record 19 cases last week.  That brings Chester’s total to 203 for the entire pandemic, in a town of slightly more than 3,000 resident. Cavendish reported six new cases, also a record for that town.

Springfield, still with the highest numbers among area towns, remained steady this week with 35 new cases, staying even with last week. Ludlow reported two new cases, the same as last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

Overall, new cases in Windsor County reversed course after several declining weeks and are again up with 133 new Covid cases, an increase from 117 reported last week. Windham County was again on the rise this week reporting 100 new cases, slightly up from 96 reported last week.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Gov. Phil Scott said that the unvaccinated make up 75 percent of cases and urged Vermonters to think about their personal responsibility for their Covid response, to help keep other people safe. Michael Pieciak, Vermont commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, who typically includes a model of anticipated new case counts, said that Vermont’s new case trajectory is unknown.

Deaths slightly down

With the new weekly record of 1,590 cases last week, the Vermont total now stands at 38,320 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state announced that eight more Vermonters died of Covid-19 over the last week, down from 11 the previous week. So far, 351 Vermonters have died from Covid-19. Of the most recent deaths, three people were over 80 years old, four were age 60 to 69, and one was age 50 to 59.

Currently, 47 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, slightly up from 45 last week. The number of people in intensive care has decreased from 12 to 10. The positivity rate also decreased, going from 3.3 percent to 2.9 percent this week.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data from Friday, Oct. 15 to Friday Oct. 22, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Quarantining at TRSU; Cavendish elementary remains Covid-free

With continued low Covid-19 numbers in grades K-12, Vermont public schools will move from Step II to Step III in reopening. Photo by Alexandra Koch for Pixabay.

The reported school numbers from Vermont’s Health Department website, dated Oct. 18, showed:

  • one new case, seven in total at Chester-Andover Elementary;
  • zero new cases and two in total at Ludlow Elementary School;
  • no cases and zero in total were reported at Green Mountain High.
  • Cavendish Town Elementary School remains the only school in the Two Rivers Supervisory Union district without a reported Covid case.

Superintendent Lauren Fierman told The Telegraph  on Friday that there were two “incidents” in the previous week that sent students home to quarantine. She noted that almost all of such incidents to date involved a single individual testing positive.

At CAES, one classroom and about 10 people from a school bus had to quarantine, for a total of about 30. At Green Mountain High, the incident involved mostly the eighth grade. About 25 students had to quarantine, but another 30 who were close contacts did not have to quarantine because – according to state guidelines – they had received vaccinations.

To date, the TRSU has seen 12 incidents requiring quarantines. Seven have taken place at CAES, two each at GM and Ludlow Elementary and one at the Mount Holly School. Cavendish Town Elementary has not had any incidents.

“That’s more in a couple of months than all of last year,” said Fierman. She pointed to several factors as possibly responsible for the larger number including the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, the lifting of the restrictions during the state of emergency and the easing of distancing in schools.

“It’s no wonder we have more infections,” said Fierman.

Fierman also noted that AOE guidelines spell out when students should quarantine and with a change that came down from Montpelier yesterday, which you can read here, most of the students on the bus from the CAES incident would not have to quarantine.

In Springfield, zero new cases and eight cases in total have been reported at Riverside Middle School; Elm Hill shows one new case, eight in total; Union Street School is showing one new case in this past week, 10 in total; and Springfield High School showed one new case, four in total. And River Valley Tech reported its first case.

Total statewide K-12 numbers reported 125 new Covid cases with 978 since the school year began.

Vermont still a leader in vaxx rates; Moderna, J&J boosters start

Iermont remains a leader in the nation for vaccination rates with 89.3 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 89 percent last week. Windsor County’s vaccination rate is currently at 80.5 percent up from 80.3 percent last week and Windham County’s rate has risen to 82.2 percent, up from 82 percent last week. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Late Thursday, Gov. Scott and the Department of Health announced that, effective today, Friday, Oct. 22, the state is expanding its Covid-19 booster shot program to include the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Moderna and J&J boosters as well as mixing and matching of booster shots, meaning that regardless of the brand of vaccine received, someone may add a booster from a different manufacturer.

Boosters are available for Vermonters who have the J&J vaccine, those who have received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines who are 65 and older and for those 18 and older with certain medical conditions or who are employed in specific high exposure risk jobs, also 18 or older who are Black, Indigenous or a person of color or are 18 and older and live with someone who is BIPOC. To see if you are eligible, click here. To schedule your booster shot, check for availability at walk-in vaccine locations below or  check for clinics by appointment by clicking here. You can also make an appointment on line here.

Nearest stores and pharmacies offering vaccines

Nearest walk-up clinics

Friday, Oct. 22

  • School Clinic: Hartford High School, Hartford, 4-8 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Springfield High School, Springfield, 4-8 p.m.
  • Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 23

  • Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

  • Brattleboro VFW, 40 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 27

  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 28

  • Asa Bloomer State Building, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Hartford District Office, 118 Prospect St., White River Jct., 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 29

  • Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 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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