Update: Vermont Covid cases continue to rise; 16,000 kids signed up for vaxx

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For the third week in a row, Vermont Covid-19 case numbers continued to shatter records, with another weekly record of 2,419 cases, a jump from 2,386 cases last week, and 1,856 from the week before. Thursday saw the second highest daily total since the pandemic began with 517 cases. The Vermont total now stands at 46,449 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

Responding from pressure from Vermont health officials and a recent appeal from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, Gov. Phil Scott announced earlier this week that he would call for state legislators to reconvene for a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 22 to pass legislation to allow municipalities to pass their own mask mandates if they choose. On Tuesday, Scott said the move was the only compromise he was willing to make on the issue, believing that “a perpetual state of emergency and unilateral executive authority is not healthy for democracy or our people.”

On the same day, strengthening his stance on promoting vaccination efforts, Scott also implemented a Universal Booster Program for Covid-19 vaccinations for anyone above age 18.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine reminded Vermonters that “the pandemic is not over” and suggested several precautions to take for a safe holiday gathering including:

  1. Ask about vaccine status of guests and use precautions accordingly;
  2. Keep it small;
  3. Get tested prior to the gathering;
  4. Skip the dinner and stay home if feeling sick; and
  5. Get tested 5 to 7 days after the holiday, even if not symptomatic.

Mike Smith, Vermont Secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said that rapid antigen tests would play a bigger role in the future, helping to lower contact tracing times and slow the spread.

“We will eventually, when the supply chain is available, rely on rapid tests, thereby reducing the time between taking a test and getting the results from days to hours,” he said.

Local school numbers

The reported school numbers from Vermont’s Health Department website, dated Nov. 15, showed:

  • One new case, 10 in total at Chester-Andover Elementary;
  • three new cases and seven in total at Ludlow Elementary School;
  • no new cases and one in total at Green Mountain High;
  • one new case, two in total reported at Cavendish Town Elementary School.

In Springfield: Three new cases and 17  in total have been reported at Riverside Middle School; Elm Hill shows one new case, 11 in total; Union Street School is showing one new case in this past week, 16 in total; Springfield High School showed zero new cases, five in total; and River Valley Tech showed zero new cases, two in total.

Total statewide K-12 numbers reported 256 new Covid cases with 1,768 since the school year began.

Area town numbers all showing declines

Local Covid-19 numbers are back on the decline with Chester reporting six new cases, a steep drop from 14 cases last week. That brings Chester’s total to 239 for the entire pandemic.

Springfield also saw a significant drop with 46 cases reported this week, down from 67 last week. Ludlow reported just one new case this week, down from seven last week. Cavendish also reported just one new case, down from four last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

Overall, new cases in Windsor County continued to increase with 195 reported, up from 172 last week. Windham County also continued to rise with 121 new cases, up from 109 last week.

Deaths continue decline but top 400

Deaths of Vermonters due to Covid-19 continued to decline with eight reported this week, down slightly from the 10 last week. So far, 401 Vermonters have died from Covid-19. Of the most recent deaths, three people were over 80 years old, one was age 70 to 79, two were age 60 to 69, and two were age 50 to 59.

Currently, 62 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, up from 52 last week. The number of people in intensive care has also increased from 13 to 15. The positivity rate held steady at 4.2 percent.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data from Friday, Nov. 12 to Friday Nov. 19, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Nearly 16,000 Vermont kids signed up for vaxx

On Tuesday, Human Services Secretary Smith said 15,991 Vermont students in the 5 to 11 age range have received or have signed up to get the newly approved Pfizer vaccine, over 36 percent of that population.

Parents must have made an appointment for their child to receive the vaccine. Appointments for both the school-based and state-run clinics can be made at healthvermont.gov/KidsVaccine or by calling 855-722-7878. Families may need to add their child as a dependent in the registration system.

Vermont remains a national leader for vaccination rates across most categories. Vaccination rates for ages 12+ stand at 92.3 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 91.3 percent last week. Vermonters ages 5+ who have received at least one dose is at 81 percent. County vaccination rates have now recalibrated to include numbers of Vermonters 5 and older. Windsor County now has  a 78 percent vaccination rate up from 77 percent last week, while Windham County is at 80 percent, up from 78 percent. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Boosters are now available for Vermonters over age 18 for all vaccines. 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 walk-up clinics and by-appointment clinics for children

Friday, Nov. 19

School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield, 4-7 p.m. (12+), 7-8 p.m. (12+ and 5-11)

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (12+), 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. (5-11)

Monday, Nov. 22

School Clinic: Dothan Brook School, White River Jct., 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11)

School Clinic: Weathersfield School, Ascutney, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11)

Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (12+ and age 5-11)

Tuesday, Nov. 23

School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield, 7-8 p.m. (12+ and 5-11)

School Clinic: Ottaquechee School, Quechee, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (age 5-11)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 53 Fairview St., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.

VFW- Brattleboro, 40 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (12+ and age 5-11)

Grace Cottage Hospital, 133 Grafton Road, Townshend, 8 a.m. – noon

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 53 Fairview St., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.

Asa Bloomer State Bldg., 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. -3 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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