State Covid cases decline, Chester numbers rise Officials plead with Vermonters to get vaccinated

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Vermont’s new Covid-19 case numbers have declined this past week, with a weekly total of 2,752 infections recorded, down from the record 3,428 cases last week. Although a decline, this is still the second highest weekly total seen since the start of the pandemic. The Vermont overall Covid case total now stands at 57,809 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

And while the state and some local towns’ numbers have declined, Chester’s have risen.

According to Commissioner Mike Pieciak of the state Department of Financial Regulation, the state numbers are a slight reprieve from the Thanksgiving surge but he is not anticipating cases going down in the next four weeks and anticipates that cases will rise following the holidays of Christmas and New Years.

During Tuesday’s weekly press conference, Gov. Phil Scott and other health officials voiced frustration with Vermonters who continue to remain unvaccinated. Scott said that under 5 percent of the population was creating more than 75 percent of the problems in our hospitals. He also had a warning, “If you’re still unvaccinated, you’ll be infected sooner or later … and about 30 times more likely to be hospitalized.”

Under 5 percent of the population was creating
more than 75 percent of the problems in our hospitals.
‘If you’re still unvaccinated, you’ll be infected sooner
or later … and about 30 times more likely to be hospitalized.’

Gov. Phil Scott

Mike Smith, Vermont Secretary of the Agency of Human Services, also expressed frustration with those who are unvaccinated who then take up a hospital bed, stressing the health care system in the state. “Frankly it’s unfair to those who have done the right thing and gotten vaccinated, but must pay for those who are unvaccinated.”

Heath Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine made a direct plea to unvaccinated Vermonters saying, “Look at the data, especially the ICU and deaths among those who are unvaccinated. Let that data speak to you and assess your own risk.”

Chester hits another record

Chester’s Covid-19 numbers hit a new weekly record reporting 39 new cases, up from 22 cases last week and its previous record 36 reported the week before. That brings Chester’s total to 360 for the entire pandemic, in a town of slightly more than 3,100.

Springfield reported 104 cases this week, a decrease from 110 reported last week. Ludlow reported five new cases this week, down from eight last week. Cavendish reported seven new cases, up from three cases last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

New cases in Windsor County were on the decline with 337 cases this week, down from 469 reported last week. Windham County continued to rise with 236 new cases reported, up from 208 reported last week.

According to Pieciak, data is showing that cases are elevated in southern Vermont with hospitalizations increasing in Rutland and Bennington counties and now a few have been reported in Windham County as well.

Slight rise in local school numbers

The reported school numbers from Vermont’s Health Department website, dated Dec. 13, showed:

  • One new case, 15 in total at Chester-Andover Elementary;
  • no new cases and eight in total at Ludlow Elementary School;
  • three new cases and 17 in total at Green Mountain High;
  • no new cases, two in total reported at Cavendish Town Elementary School.

In Springfield: Zero new cases and 21 in total have been reported at Riverside Middle School; Elm Hill shows zero new cases, 32 in total; Union Street School is showing four new cases in this past week, 30 in total; Springfield High School showed two new cases, 14 in total; and River Valley Tech showed zero new cases, two in total.

Total statewide K-12 numbers reported 258 new Covid cases with 2,749 since the school year began.

Deaths are up; hospitalizations, positivity continue to decline

Vermont Covid deaths have increased by nearly 40 percent with 22 reported this week, up from 13 last week, bringing the total to 451. Of the most recent deaths, six were over 80 years old, 10 were age 70 to 79, five were age 60 to 69, and one was age 50 to 59.

Deaths from Covid rise, but hospitalizations are down.

Currently, 60 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, down from 78 reported last week. The number of people in intensive care has decreased from 24 to 19. The positivity rate also decreased from 4.8 to 4.4 percent. On Tuesday, Pieciak said that 72 percent of hospitalizations, and 77 percent of ICU cases are Vermonters who are not fully vaccinated.

Smith said they were close to adding the targeted 10 additional ICU beds and still trying to open up more. The state has opened 80 sub-acute beds in long-term care and other medical facilities and can add more of those beds as needed, which will serve as back up for those hospitalized who still need care, but not necessarily in an ICU setting.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data from Friday, Dec. 10, to Friday Dec. 17, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Over 22,000 Vermont kids signed up for vaxx

Also on Tuesday, Smith said 22,436 Vermont students in the 5 to 11 age range have received or have signed up to get the newly approved Pfizer vaccine, which is more than 51 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 95.2 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 94.4 percent last week. Windsor County now has an 82 percent vaccination rate up from 81 percent last week, while Windham County has increased to 83 percent, up from 82 percent. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Boosters are now available for Vermonters over age 18 for all vaccines and the CDC has extended their recommendation to include 16 and 17 year old residents as well.

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 and by-appointment clinics for children

Friday, Dec. 17

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

Crystal Palace, 72 Depot St., Manchester Center, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont St., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (12+)

Asa Boomer State Bldg, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (12+)

Saturday, Dec. 18

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

Rescue Inc. Division 1 Station, 541 Canal St., Brattleboro, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (12+)

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

Sunday, Dec. 19

Magic Mountain Ski Resort, Londonderry, 9-11 a.m. (12+)

Monday, Dec. 20

Greater Falls Pharmacy, 78 Atkinson St., Bellows Falls, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (12+)

Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Tuesday, Dec. 21

School Clinic: Riverside Middle School, Springfield, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

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

Brattleboro VFW, 40 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (12+)

Grace Cottage Hospital, 133 Grafton Road, Townshend, 8 a.m. – noon (12+)

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

Wednesday, Dec. 22

Greater Falls Pharmacy, 78 Atkinson St., Bellows Falls, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (12+)

Diamond Run Mall, Rutland, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

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

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

Thursday, Dec. 23

School Clinic: Hartford High School, White River Jct., 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

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

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

Asa Boomer State Bldg, 88 Merchants Row, Rutland, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (12+)

Friday, Dec. 24

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

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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