Vermont, Chester Covid numbers down; FDA OKs Pfizer vaxx for kids 5 to 11

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Mirroring national trends, Covid-19 numbers in Vermont and in Chester are both seeing a decline, after two weeks in a row with record high numbers.

And just this afternoon, according to the New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11.

In anticipation of the approval, Vermont Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said, “We’re finalizing the process to vaccinate children … They will receive a smaller dose than what is being given to adults. We will have school-based clinics for this vaccination effort as well as at pharmacies, pediatricians’ office, and at other state-run sites.”

As for current case totals, Vermont’s weekly total is 1,468, down from last week’s record of 1,590; Chester’s new Covid-case numbers remained in double digits with 11 new cases, but were down significantly from the record 23 cases from last week. That brings Chester’s total to 214 for the entire pandemic, in a town of slightly more than 3,000 residents.

A mother helps her daughter put on a face mask. Photo by August de Richelieu.

Springfield, still with the highest numbers among area towns, recorded 37 cases this week, up slightly from 35 last week. Ludlow reported seven cases this week, up from its typical two per week average. Cavendish reported two new cases, down from their record of six from the week prior. Those community updates can be seen here.

Overall, new cases in Windsor County again reversed course, showing a decline with 116 new Covid cases, down from 133 reported last week. Windham County continued to rise this week reporting 102 new cases, slightly up from 100 reported last week.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak, who typically includes a model of anticipated new case counts, said that Vermont’s new case modeling was again seeing a great degree of uncertainty but showing some improvement.

Deaths return to double digits

With the addition of 1,468 cases this week, the Vermont total now stands at 39,788 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash.

Vermont deaths due to Covid-19 are again on the rise with 13 reported this week, up from eight last week. So far, 364 Vermonters have died from Covid-19. Of the most recent deaths, 10 people were over 80 years old, one was age 70 to 79, one was age 60 to 69, and one was age 40 to 49.

Currently, 60 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, a jump from 47 last week. The number of people in intensive care has increased from 10 to 12. The positivity rate has decreased, going from 2.9 percent to 2.7 percent this week.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data from Friday, Oct. 22 to Friday Oct. 29, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Cavendish Town Elementary remains Covid-free

The reported school numbers from Vermont’s Health Department website, dated Oct. 25, showed:

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

In Springfield: One new case and nine cases in total have been reported at Riverside Middle School; Elm Hill shows zero new cases, eight in total; Union Street School is showing four new cases in this past week, 14 in total; and Springfield High School showed zero new cases, four in total; River Valley Tech showed zero new cases, one in total.

Total statewide K-12 numbers reported 131 new Covid cases with 1,125 since the school year began.

Indoor winter sports guidance

This week, Vermont’s Agency of Education released indoor winter sports guidance for schools, which includes a mask mandate for student athletes, coaching staff, referees and spectators during indoor practices, competitions and games, regardless of individual vaccination status. There are no restrictions for outdoor sports.

Masks will be required for indoor winter sports.
Photo by Monstera from Pexels.

There were some limited exceptions for some running events and other sports such a wrestling, cheer, dance and gymnastics. Unvaccinated students who may have had an exposure but are involved in the Test to Stay program, can play in practices but restricted from games and tournaments. To see complete details click here.

According to Agency of Education Secretary Dan French, 12 independent schools and 19 school districts are ready to launch the  Test to Stay program.

The AOE has updated their contact tracing protocols in schools including only focusing on indoor activities. Close contacts were previously identified as those who were 6 feet apart and together for 15 minutes or more – new guidelines reduce that space now to three feet. Also, close contacts on buses are now only those who were seatmates versus including the entire bus.

The AOE also issued an updated Covid-19 guidance measures which extends the mandatory mask mandate for students and staff when indoors until Jan. 18.

Vermont remains a leader in vaxx rates

Image by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay/Illustration by The Chester Telegraph.

Vermont remains a national leader for vaccination rates with 89.9 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 89.3 percent last week. Windsor County’s vaccination rate is currently at 81.1 percent up from 80.5 percent last week and Windham County’s rate has risen to 82.6 percent, up from 82.2 percent last week. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Boosters are available for Vermonters who have had the J&J vaccine. Booster are also available for those who have received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines who are 65 and older. They are also available for those 18 and older with certain medical conditions or who are employed in specific high exposure risk jobs. They are also available for those 18 and older are Black, Indigenous and people of color or 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. 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.
  • School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield 4-8 p.m.
  • Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 30

  • 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.

Monday, Nov. 1

  • Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Hartford High School, Hartford, 4-8 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 2

  • VFW-Brattleboro, 40 Black Mountain Rd., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield 4-8 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 3

  • 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, Nov. 4

  • Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Hartford High School, Hartford 4 – 8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 5

  • 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.
  • Diamond. Run Mall, Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield 4-8 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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