Omicron variant spurs rise in Covid cases locally, statewide

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Although Vermont officials, including those with the Health Department, have given less focus in their weekly press conferences to discuss Covid-19 numbers, cases per week have nearly doubled since the end of March,while hospitalization numbers have tripled, driven largely by the Omicron BA.2 variant according to reports from the Center for Disease Control.

Covid numbers are up in Vermont, including Windham and Windsor counties.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

As a comparison, from March 4 through April 1, 3,693 positive cases reported in Vermont. During the four weeks from April 1 through April 29, that number jumped to 7,042, nearly double the cases reported in March.

Windsor County reported 357 cases between March 4 through April 1, and showed an increase from April 1 to April 29, with 552 cases reported. Windham County news was better. March numbers showed 146 cases reported, and decreased during April, with only 104 recorded.

The shift in state testing recommendations, which encouraged using available take-home rapid tests and that only symptomatic Vermonters seek out testing, might explain why the positivity rate has jumped from an average of 5.4 percent in March to an average of nearly 10 percent in April, landing at 13.3 percent on April 29. However, since self-reporting is a component of the take-home test shift, and there are likely additional positives that are not being reported to the state, the overall rise in case numbers is at least worth noting.

In March, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine suggested that Vermonters should look at Covid-19 hospitalizations and mortality numbers to get a better idea of Covid-19 levels in Vermont. Those numbers however are also on the rise.

In March, from March 4 through April 1, hospitalizations fell from 32 to 17, with ICU numbers also dropping from six to zero. From April 1 through April 29, those hospitalization numbers reversed course more than tripling, going from 17 to 60, with ICU numbers rising from zero to eight. From March 4 to April 1, 10 deaths were reported. That number doubled to 20 from April 1 to 29. The total number of Vermonters who have died from Covid now stands at 637.

Total positive case numbers, deaths and other statistics are based on data captured from Friday, March 4 to Friday, April 1; and compared to Friday, April 1 to Friday, April 29, published on the Health Department’s Case Dashboard.

24 positive cases at CAES since March 21

Cases in our local schools, particularly at Chester-Andover Elementary School, are also worth notice. 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 students returned to school from holiday break in early January. You can find that document here.

Updates reflected below span from our last update on Friday, March, 25 through Friday, April 29. The biggest outbreak over the past month has happened at CAES with 24 positive Covid cases reported, compared with just a few in each of the other schools over that same span.

  • Chester-Andover Elementary School: 24 new cases, 77 in total since January;
  • Green Mountain Union Middle/High School: one new case, 72 in total since January;
  • Cavendish Town Elementary: two new cases, 13 in total since January;
  • Ludlow Elementary: four new cases, 16 in total since January;
  • Mount Holly School: one new case, 13 in total since January.
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