Weekly Covid Update: State plans transition into living with Covid

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The Covid-19 update was just a small part of Gov. Phil Scott’s  weekly press conference on Tuesday as Covid case numbers continue to fall. State Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine was the only state official to speak on Covid this past Tuesday, saying that the state was planning for the deliberate and phased transitions into the future as health officials continue moving toward recovery and as Vermonters figure out how to live safely “while Covid 19 remains a lesser, overall threat.”

Levine also said that the state will shift toward fewer broad-based public health recommendations to a more personalized approach based on individual circumstances and health needs. There was no official announcement of when the state was dropping the mask recommendation yet, although Gov. Scott had hinted at that possibility last week.

New weekly case totals continued to fall, with 1,344 reported, down from 1,710 last week. The overall total number of Covid cases in Vermont stands at 112,023 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Hospitalizations, percent positivity and the death rate also showed declines.

Hospitalizations dropped from 57 to 35 this week. The number of people in intensive care decreased from 12 to 5. The positivity percentage rate also continued its drop from 5.5 percent to 4.8 percent.

Deaths from Covid have declined, with 12 new deaths reported statewide, down from 17 last week. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid now stands at 595. Of the most recent deaths, five were over 80 years old, two were age 70 to 79, three were age 60 to 69, one was age 50 to 59, and one was 40 to 49.

In this report, the total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data captured from Friday, Feb. 18 to Friday, Feb. 25, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Springfield up along with Windsor County, other towns down

Chester’s Covid-19 numbers showed a sharp decline this week, with only two new cases reported, down from 11 last week. That brings Chester’s total to 636 for the entire pandemic, over 20 percent of residents, in a town of slightly more than 3,100 residents.

Springfield showed a significant increase with 81 new cases reported, up from 38 cases reported last week. This jump is likely linked to the 45 cases reported at the Springfield prison earlier this week by several news outlets, including the Eagle Times and WCAX-News. Ludlow’s new case number dropped this week with two reported, down from five last week. Cavendish held steady with one new case, mirroring last week. Those community updates can be seen here.

Overall, new cases in Windsor County were up slightly with 93 cases reported, an increase from 90 last week. Windham County continued with their decline showing 30 new cases, down from 39 cases last week.

TRSU document not updated

The Two Rivers Supervisory Union has added a document to its website that tracks Covid cases in each of the local schools in the district since the beginning of January when students returned to school from the holiday break. You can find that document here.

The document was not updated since last Friday due to President’s week vacation.

  • Chester-Andover Elementary School has 46 in total since January;
  • Green Mountain Union Middle/High School has 67 in total;
  • Cavendish Elementary has seven cases in total;
  • Ludlow Elementary has nine cases in total;
  • Mount Holly School has 12 cases in total since January term began.

Test kits vs. local testing sites

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

Levine said that as the Health Department continues to see a decrease in demand for PCR testing, the state will assess how many public testing sites will still be needed and will also see how take-home tests might “be better to meet the needs of Vermonters.”

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 5:10 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.

Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, 289 County Road, Windsor, Monday and Friday 1-3:50 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 8:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic, 78 Founder’s Hill Road, Stratton, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8-11 a.m.

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

State vaxx rates show few gains

The state has updated its vaccine dashboard, now showing how many Vermonters, age 5 and older are up-to-date on all their eligible vaccines including boosters. There was little improvement in vaccination rates this week with the percentage of Vermonters of at least 5 years of age who have received all recommended vaccines, remaining at 58 percent. Age 5 and older that received one dose also was unchanged and still stands at 87 percent.

Windsor County’s vaccination rate for those 5 and older with one dose showed a slight uptick this week, going from 84 percent to 85 percent. Windham County’s vaccination number remained steady at 86 percent. For vaccination details, visit the Vaccine Dashboard.

Boosters are available for Vermonters over the 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

Friday, Feb. 25

Fair Haven High School, 33 Mechanic St., Fair Haven, 4-6 p.m. (12+)

Putney Fire Dept., 14 Main St., Putney, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. c

Diamond Run Mall, 46 Diamond Run, Rutland, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Royalton Town Office, 2460 VT Route 14, S. Royalton, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (12+)

Saturday, Feb. 26

Cavendish Fire Dept., 2153 Main St., Cavendish, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 8 a.m. – noon. (5-11) and (12+)

Tuesday, March 1

Riverside Middle School, 13 Fairgrounds Road, Springfield, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 2 – 6 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Diamond Run Mall, 46 Diamond Run, Rutland, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (12+)

Wednesday, March 2

Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, 4:30-6:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Castleton University, 49 College Dr., Castleton, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Londonderry Rescue, 6069 VT Route 100, Londonderry, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

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

Hogback and Mt. Olga Trailhead, 7788 VT Route 9, Brattleboro, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Thursday, March 3

Hartford High School, 37 Highland Ave, Hartford, 4-6 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Putney Fire Dept., 14 Main St., Putney, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Mount Snow, 39 Mount Snow Road, Dover, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, 17 Belmont Ave., Brattleboro, 2-6 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Friday, March 4

Bellows Falls Fire Dept., 170 Rockingham St., Bellows Falls, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Stratton Resort, 5 Village Lodge Rd., Stratton, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Crystal Palace, 72 Depot St., Manchester (12+)

Royalton Town Office, 2460 VT Route 14, S. Royalton, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Vaxx locations are being added regularly. 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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