Weekly Covid Update: Guidelines for masking and quarantine change Monday

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As reported last week, starting March 14, guidance for masks and isolation/quarantining will be changing. The decision to wear a mask will be up to each individual person based on their own circumstances, personal risk assessment, and health needs.” He also asked that Vermonters to be supportive of personal choices and not judge anyone who chooses to keep a mask on.

Isolation and quarantine guidelines will also be simplified as of March 14. Those who test positive should stay home and isolate for five days. Close contacts who are not up-to-date on their vaccines do not need to quarantine but should get tested. If they develop symptoms at any time, they should also get tested.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine urged Vermonters not thrown masks away and to also keep home test kits. “As much as we’ve learned about this virus, we also know it has the ability to quickly change and we must remain prepared to meet those changes if we need to,” he said.

The state will continue to encourage people to keep vaccinations up to date and continue to perform surveillance testing for disease trends, monitor outbreaks in vulnerable populations and keep a lookout for new variants.

New weekly case totals continued to fall, for the first time sinking below the 1,000-case threshold since late August of 2021, with 841 new cases reported this week, down from 1,084 last week. The overall total number of Covid cases in Vermont stands at 113,948 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Hospitalizations, percent positivity and reported deaths also showed declines.

Hospitalizations dropped from 32 to 22 this week. The number of people in intensive care held steady at six. The positivity percentage rate continued its drop from 4.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

In what was arguably the most dramatic decline in this week’s data, only one death was reported statewide this week, down from 12 last week. That death was a Vermonter over the age of 80. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid now stands at 608.

Total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data captured from Friday, March 4 to Friday, March 11, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

Chester shows increase; last week state reports town numbers.

According to the healthvermont.gov website, after March 11, the state will no longer be updating case rates by town. “Due to various factors, including the increased use of at-home tests, we are continuing to transition away from COVID-19 case data as a means to measure the impact of the virus in our communities.”

Chester reported seven new cases this week, up from three last week. That brings Chester’s total to 646 for the entire pandemic, nearly 21 percent of residents, in a town of slightly more than 3,100 residents.

Springfield showed a huge drop in their numbers with 8 new cases this week, down from 46 cases last week. Ludlow reported no new cases, down from two last week. Cavendish had no new cases reported for the second week in a row. Those community updates can be seen here.

Windsor County reported 79 cases this week, down from with 192 last week, and 93 cases the week prior. Windham County reported 43 cases this week, down from and 132 cases last week and slightly up from 30 cases the week prior. Last week’s county numbers were likely skewed due to a dashboard adjustment.

Test kits vs. local testing sites

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.

On Tuesday, Levine also spoke about a Federal program introduced last week called the Test to Treat program, a one-stop testing and treatment program where testing positive would immediately result in receiving a prescription for the appropriate treatment. Locations include pharmacy-based clinics, and federally-qualified community healthcare centers. To date however, no locations in Vermont, either pharmacy or healthcare center, have been approved for the program. Vermonters can still be tested and receive treatment and prescriptions through their health care providers.

The nearest sites for testing include:

Brattleboro, 417 Canal St., Tuesday, Thursday from 2-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – noon.

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 1-3:50 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 8:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Closed on Wednesday, March 16.

Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic, 78 Founder’s Hill Road, Stratton, Monday and Wednesday, 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 were stagnant, again

Vaccination rates across the board showed no significant increase. There was no 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. Those 5 and older who 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 remained unchanged at 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

Saturday, March 12

Weathersfield School, 135 Schoolhouse Rd., Ascutney, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

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

Monday, March 14

Mt. Ascutney Hospital, Professional Bldg, Lower Lvl, 289 County Rd., Windsor, 9-11:30 a.m. (12+)

Tuesday, March 15

Riverside Middle School, 13 Fairgrounds Road, Springfield, 3:30-5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Community Health Pediatrics, 1 General Wing Road, Rutland, 4–5:30 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Hartford District Office, 118 Prospect St., White River Jct., 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Springfield Town Library, 43 Main St., Springfield, 3-5 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Diamond Run Mall, 46 Diamond Run, Rutland, 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+)

Brattleboro VFW, 40 Black Mountain Road, Brattleboro, 3 – 6 p.m. (5-11) and (12+)

Wednesday, March 16

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

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

Thursday, March 17

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

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

Friday, March 18

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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