Weekly Covid Update: Record hospitalizations, jump in deaths as cases see decline With at-home testing rising, state ends collecting school data

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As case numbers and positivity rates begin to wane, a   surge is now being played out through record hospitalizations and a higher death count.

Record hospitalizations for Covid were reported on Wednesday, Jan. 19, hitting 122, although that number has now decreased to 108 as of data reported on Friday, Jan. 21, but were still up from 100 hospitalizations reported last week. The number of people in intensive care also increased from 24 to 27.

Deaths from Covid nearly doubled this week, with 21 reported statewide, a jump from 11 last week, and bringing the total to 514 Vermonters having died from Covid since the pandemic began. Of the most recent deaths, 12 were over 80 years old, four were age 70 to 79, four were age 60 to 69, and one was age 50 to 59.

Although the weekly case total stayed above the 10,000 mark with 10,104, they were significantly lower than the record set last week with 12,509. The overall total number of Covid cases in Vermont stands at 96,415 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The positivity percentage rate also dropped from 13.4 percent to 12.5 percent.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data captured from Friday, Jan. 14 to Friday, Jan. 21, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

There was no weekly press conference on Covid-19 due to the governor’s release of the budget. Press conferences will resume next Tuesday.

Covid test kits from the state of Vermont. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

Springfield hits new record,
other local towns show a decline

Chester’s Covid-19 numbers have decreased significantly with 35 new cases reported, down from the record 89 cases past week. That brings Chester’s total to 552 for the entire pandemic, nearly 18 percent of residents, in a town of slightly more than 3,100 residents.

Ludlow’s new case total decreased with 33 new Covid cases reported, down from 50 last week, which had been its record. Cavendish also showed a decline with 16 new cases, down from its prior high of 27 cases last week. Springfield edged up slightly hitting a new weekly record, with 166 new cases, up from 161 cases reported last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

Overall, new cases in Windsor County continued to spike with 481 cases reported, up from 435 last week. Windham County showed a decrease however with 358 new cases, down from 449 new cases last week.

Federal test kits and local testing sites

On Thursday, Jan. 20, Gov. Phil Scott released a press release strongly encouraging Vermonters to order at-home, rapid Covid-19 tests that are now available through the federal government’s initiative at covidtests.gov.

According to the release, the availability of the federal program may impact how Vermont distributes test kits that are scheduled to arrive to Vermont later this month. “As the state awaits the arrival of an additional 150,000 tests it ordered for the pilot program, it is reevaluating the best use of these tests – including potentially allocating them directly to schools, child care programs and long-term care facilities – now that the general public has access to the new federal program.”

The availability of antigen testing kits and other testing opportunities continues to evolve. Visit this link to get up-to-date information on test availability, locations and other information. The Health Department recommends making an appointment.

The nearest sites for testing include:

Brattleboro, 417 Canal St., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2-6 p.m.

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St., Rutland, Monday through Friday 9 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 5:20 p.m., Saturday 10 to 11:50 a.m.

Springfield Health Center, 51 Pearl St., Level 2, Springfield, Monday Tuesday, Friday 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday 8-11 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m.– noon.

For more information on what to do if you or your child tests positive for Covid-19, visit this link.

State no longer tracking, reporting school Covid cases

With testing now moving from in-school to at-home via rapid antigen testing, the state is no longer capturing and reporting data of new and cumulative positive school cases.

According to Bennett Truman, public health communication officer, this change in testing protocols within school has impacted the state’s ability to fully determine who was at school while infectious, and therefore the type of data they can collect, including the data that appeared in the school data report.

“For these reasons, the Health Department and the Agency of Education have discontinued this data report effective Jan. 10. We are instead publishing a new report on pediatric cases, which gives us the best understanding of cases across the state among our school-age population,” Truman said.

Vaxx rates tick up

Vermont remains a national leader for vaccination rates across most categories. Vaccination rates for ages 12+ stand at 98.7 percent of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of vaccine, up from 97.8 percent last week. Windsor County’s vaccination rate was reported as 84 percent this week, up from 83 percent last week. Windham County has increased slightly at 85 percent, up from 84 percent last week. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

According to the latest modeling data from the Department of Financial Regulation, Vermont continues to lead the nation for vaccination of 5-11 year olds with at least one dose with 60.2 percent, up from 58.6 percent last week.

Boosters are now available for Vermonters over age of 12. Parents can register their children for the booster online now. Children ages 16 and 17 can now get their booster shot as soon as five months after the second dose.

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

Saturday, Jan. 22

Weathersfield School, 135 Schoolhouse Road, Ascutney, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 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, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (12+), 1:30-5:30 p.m. (5-11)

Monday, Jan. 24

Twin Valley Middle/High School, Whitingham, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Mt. Ascutney Hospital, Prof. Bldg, 289 County Road, Windsor, 9 -11:30 a.m. (12+)

Tuesday, Jan. 25

Vermont Law School, 164 Chelsea St., South Royalton, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (12+)

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

Community Health Pediatrics, 1 General Wing Road, Rutland, 4-7 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Brattleboro VFW, 40 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro, noon – 6 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Hartford District Office, 118 Prospect St., WRJ, 9:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. (12+), 2-4 p.m. (5-11)

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Castleton University, 49 College Dr., Castleton, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (5-11)

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St. Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. (12+)

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

Thursday, Jan. 27

Hartford High School, 37 Highland Ave., White River Jct., 4-6 p.m. (12+)

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St. Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. (12+)

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

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

Friday, Jan. 28

Valley Bible, 851 Fairview Terrace, Hartford, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (12+)

Rutland Regional Medical Center, 160 Allen St. Rutland, 8:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. (12+)

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

West Fairlee Town Office, 870 Rt. 113, Fairlee, 3-6 p.m., (5-11) and (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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