All Vermonters age 16 and up — in other words, all remaining eligible age groups — will be able to make appointments for the COVID-9 vaccine beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, the state has announced.
Vermonters ages 16, 17 and 18 were allowed to make appointments beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, allowing them greater opportunity to get appointments for the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine they can receive, the state said. Eighteen-year-olds can get Pfizer or Moderna, but were included in the group since many are high school seniors, officials said.
“As you know, I’ve made getting kids back into school a priority,” Gov. Phil Scott said Friday. “This step will help give those kids the opportunity to register for Pfizer doses a bit earlier, which is their only vaccine option at this time, and possibly enjoy the end of the school year in a more normal way.”
THE DAILY NUMBERS
No Vermonters died of COVID-19 over the past two days, the health department reported. The death toll remains at 242.
Twenty-six Vermonters were hospitalized with the disease as of Sunday, and five of those patients were in intensive care.
The health department reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont on Saturday, and 149 on Sunday, for a total of 218. The state’s cumulative number of cases since the start of the pandemic is now 22,016.
All of Vermont’s 14 counties reported new cases. Chittenden County had 55; Rutland County had 24; Bennington County had 22; Windham County had 19; Windsor County had 17; Orleans County had 16; Caledonia County had 15; Orange County had 14; Franklin and Washington counties each had 10; Essex County had seven; Addison and Lamoille counties each had six; and Grand Isle County had one.
So far, 371,712 people have been tested. The reported statewide seven-day average for positive tests has dipped to 1.7 percent.
The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 has risen by 297 since Friday, to 18,337.
The statistics supplied by the Vermont Department of Health at midday each day are accurate as of the end of the previous day. The information is preliminary and subject to change.
BENNINGTON COUNTY CONTINUES AT ‘VERY HIGH RISK’; WINDHAM AT ‘HIGH RISK’
The nonprofit Covid ActNow continues to rate the COVID-19 threat level for Bennington County as “very high risk.”
The seven-day average of daily new cases per 100,000 residents has again risen, to 33.0, which rates as “dangerous.” The county’s infection rate, 0.96, shows that active cases are spreading, but slowly, while a positive test rate of 3.2 percent indicates adequate testing.
Windham County, where the seven-day average remains at 20.0 daily new cases, is considered high risk. The county’s infection rate, 0.90, shows that COVID-19 is still spreading, but slowly, and a positive test rate of 3.5 percent shows adequate testing.
Among Vermont’s neighbors, Berkshire and Franklin counties in Massachusetts, Rensselaer and Washington counties in New York, and Cheshire County in New Hampshire all remain at high risk.
Bennington County has reported 134 new cases over the past two weeks, and Windham County has reported 112. Chittenden County, Vermont’s largest county, has had 587 over the same period.
Bennington County continues to have the highest infection rate of COVID-19 in Vermont, at 520.3 cases per 10,000 residents since the beginning of the pandemic. Chittenden County is second, at 429.0, while the rate in Windham County is 291.0 per 10,000.
52% OF VERMONTERS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF VACCINE
The Department of Health reported that 284,748 Vermonters, or 52.0 percent of all those over the age of 16, had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Saturday. That is a one percentage point increase from Friday. According to the state, 190,400 people have completed their vaccination, and 94,400 have received a first dose.
In Bennington County, 56.8 percent of those over the age of 16 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is the highest vaccination rate among all Vermont counties. In Windham County, the figure is 47.6 percent. Nationally, 49.7 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have received at least one dose, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, the state has received 564,100 doses of vaccine, 80.5 percent of which have been administered.
The vaccination dashboard is not updated on Sundays.
SCOTT ALLOWS COVID-19 RELIEF BILL TO BECOME LAW
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott will allow a coronavirus relief bill to become law without his signature, saying it contains “urgently needed” funds for Vermonters, but encourages “unwise” use of American Rescue Plan Act and school emergency funds.
The Republican governor, in a statement to legislators released Saturday night, said the bill started out in January by funding urgent pandemic needs, but over the the next two months it evolved into a more complex measure.
Scott highlighted “valuable relief” provisions in the bill, such as $47 million for budget initiatives he advocated for, including economic aid to businesses, emergency housing needs, and environmental clean-up. Money also is going to foreclosure prevention, mental health services.
However, Scott said the bill “includes policy and spending choices that suggest we have very different opinions about how best to deploy the federal recovery and economic stimulus funding.”
Scott said he doesn’t support deploying the federal coronavirus relief aid “in a piecemeal fashion across a hodgepodge of bills and programs.”
BENNINGTON COLLEGE REPORTS ONE NEW CASE
Bennington College has reported that an employee who works remotely has tested positive for COVID-19. Because the employee was last on campus in June 2020, there is no exposure risk to the community, the college said.
The college reported that 16,447 tests have been administered on campus since the beginning of the pandemic, and that 19 people have recovered.
MORE THAN 2 MILLION NOW VACCINATED IN MASS.
More than 2 million Massachusetts have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said.
Baker shared the milestone in a tweet on Saturday.
The state Department of Public Health said most residents received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. More than 201,000 people received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“On Monday, everyone 16 or older will be eligible, and we look forward to continuing our progress vaccinating our residents,” Baker’s tweet read.
VACCINATION MILESTONE REACHED IN MAINE
Half of Maine’s population of age 16 and up has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Janet Mills said Sunday.
That amount includes 38 percent of eligible residents who received their final dose, Mills said in a news release.
“We’re now approaching 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered into the arms of Maine people, a remarkable achievement made possible through our collaboration with health care providers, volunteers, and countless others throughout the state,” said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that the state has been the site of more than 57,000 cases of the virus and 765 deaths, including one new one, and more than 400 infections.
800 STUDENTS REGISTER FOR CAMPUS VACCINE CLINIC IN CONN.Central Connecticut State University held an on-campus vaccine clinic on Sunday, offering a $50 housing credit to students for next fall who show proof of full vaccination.
Some students don’t need the incentive.
“I think it’s necessary because it will help everyone stay safe so that campus can kind of return to normal,” said CCSU freshman Rachel Breault, WVIT-TV reported.
The university said it hoped to vaccinate 800 preregistered students at the event, each receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
RHODE ISLANDERS GET FREE RIDES TO VACCINATION SITES
The free bus rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Rhode Island are starting Monday.
Gov. Daniel McKee said at a news conference last week that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will provide the rides to people traveling to or from a vaccination appointment. He said people who need a ride should contact RIPTA customer service via email or telephone.
Vaccine eligibility is open to all people age 16 and older as of Monday.
STUDENT JOURNALISM CONTEST ADJUSTS TO COVID-19
An annual contest that rewards high school journalists in New Hampshire has been adjusted this year to take into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Previously, those competing for the Brodsky Prize were required to submit examples of published work. But given the challenges the pandemic posed to school papers, this year’s contest asks students to submit essays of up to 800 words about how the pandemic has challenged their communities or schools, and how it could lead to positive changes.
The $5,000 prize, established by a former editor of the school paper at Central High School in Manchester, is open to all New Hampshire high school seniors. The deadline for submissions is May 14.