One Vermonter died of COVID-19 over the past two days, the Vermont Department of Health has reported. The death toll is now 170.
Bennington County, which reported 35 new cases on Saturday and 15 on Sunday, continues to have the highest rate of COVID-19 among Vermont counties, at 256.5 cases per 10,000 residents. Chittenden County is second, at 235.0, and Windham County is fifth, at 176.1.
Forty-seven Vermonters are hospitalized with the disease, and eight of those patients are in intensive care units.
The health department reported 268 new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont over the past two days. The cumulative total reported is 11,033, which is 274 higher than the total reported Friday. The department did not explain the discrepancy.
All of Vermont’s 14 counties reported new cases over the past two days. Chittenden County had 94; Bennington County had 50; Washington County had 24; Rutland County had 23; Windsor County had 19; Franklin County had 12; Addison and Windham counties each had 10; Lamoille County had eight; Orange and Orleans counties each had six; Essex County had four; and Caledonia and Grand Isle counties each had one.
Over the past two weeks, Bennington County has reported 285 new cases, and Windham County has reported 116. Chittenden County, Vermont’s largest county, has had 694.
So far, 295,625 people have been tested. The reported seven-day average for positive tests dipped to 2.4 percent.
The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 rose by 219 since Friday, to 7,396.
The health department reported that 364 people were being monitored for the disease as of Sunday, a decrease of 83 from Friday. Of these, 133 are visitors to Vermont.
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.
VACCINATIONS AT 7.3% IN VERMONT
Approximately 41,742 Vermonters have received at least one dose of vaccine to date, according to health department figures released Sunday. That includes 31,800 people who have received only their first dose, and 9,942 who have received their second.
That figure represents 7.3 percent of Vermonters who are 16 years old or older. In Southern Vermont, 8.2 percent of those eligible have been vaccinated in Bennington County, and 6.7 percent in Windham County.
VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS OPEN MONDAY FOR THOSE 75 AND OLDER
The state has launched a new webpage — healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine — where Vermonters age 75 and older will be able to book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.
The page is accessible now, but cannot be used to make an appointment until Monday.
A call center number for anyone who is unable to register online, or who need to speak with someone in a language other than English will be announced on Monday and found on the MyVaccine website.
People are urged not to call any other Health Department number to make an appointment, or to call hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies or 2-1-1.
Vaccination appointments will begin on Wednesday.
If you plan to make an appointment for yourself or a loved one, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine ahead of time to learn what information you will need to make the appointment. You’ll also find links to Frequently Asked Questions and a video about the online process.
25 OUTBREAKS TO DATE IN VT. SCHOOLS
There have been 25 outbreaks in K-12 schools, with a total of 84 cases, the health department reported Friday. On average, there are three cases per school outbreak.
The department found that, while COVID-19 is being transmitted at schools, transmission is occurring “in a limited capacity, since outbreaks at K-12 schools are usually small.” It found that 83 percent of those at schools who had COVID-19 did not spread the disease to anyone else.
VERMONT MAN ASSAULTED FOR VISITING MAINE
Portland police have arrested two people they say attacked a man because his car had Vermont license plates.
The suspects yelled at the victim and told him that he shouldn’t be in Maine, then assaulted him on Friday afternoon, police said in a Facebook post.
They damaged his car and tried to pull him out of the vehicle, police said. The victim, whose name was not made public, was not seriously hurt.
Police responding to calls from witnesses found that the suspects had fled by the time they arrived, but both were arrested a short time later.
Nathaniel Glavin, 41, and Vanessa Lazaro, 22, both face assault and drug charges. Lazaro was taken to the hospital and Glavin was held on $10,000 bail. It was not clear if they had attorneys.
UVM BASKETBALL TEAM ENDS SEASON EARLY
The University of Vermont women’s basketball team has decided not to play the remainder of its season, the school announced Sunday.
The decision was made by the players with the full support of the coaches and the athletic department.
The team has played just six of its 12 scheduled games this season and has not played since Jan. 4. They finish with a 4-2 record.
The university did not give a specific reason for the decision but it came two days after the school suspended all athletic activity due to COVID-19 cases within the athletic department.
AVAILABILITY BROADENED FOR COVID-19 TREATMENT IN N.H.
A coronavirus treatment that was once only available in hospitals is now being offered more widely across New Hampshire.
Infusion clinics for monoclonal antibodies have been set up at 13 hospitals and urgent care centers, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette. The treatment also has been distributed to nursing homes.
“This is really set up for those that are at highest risk for hospitalization and very serious illness. It is not a treatment that is typically used for people that are in the hospital or receiving supplemental oxygen,” she said. “So it really is done on an outpatient setting.”
Patients will be referred to the clinics by their primary care providers.
R.I. CONSIDERS CHANGES TO VACCINE ROLLOUT PLAN
Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, who is set to take over as governor if Gina Raimondo is confirmed as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary, says he’d like to see changes to the state’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.
The Democrat said Saturday he wants to speed up vaccinations for all Rhode Islanders aged 65 and older as well as for teachers and school support staff.
Under current guidelines, adults younger than 75 who are not in a nursing home or in another high-risk group have to wait at least until the second phase of the vaccine rollout to get inoculated starting next month.
Vaccinating educators will speed up the economic recovery, he said.
“We’re not going to open the economy until we do that, and teachers are not going to feel comfortable by and large until we get them vaccinated,” he said.
McKee said he also plans on enhancing the state’s COVID-19 Advisory Committee, including adding Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and a national expert on the pandemic.
MAINE SCHOOL DISTRICTS FACE STAFFING SHORTAGES
School districts across Maine are cutting back on in-person classes in response to staffing shortages in a number of critical areas as a result of a statewide surge in COVID-19 cases that began more than two months ago.
The shortages are affecting not just teachers, but transportation and custodial staff, The Portland Press Herald reported Sunday.
The Maine Department of Education doesn’t track the number of open positions in schools but is responding to feedback from school districts about staff shortages.
More than 600 reciprocal and one-year emergency certifications have been issued to date under an executive order from Gov. Janet Mills to provide more flexibility for certifying education professionals. Nearly 2,800 educators have been certified without taking a standardized test that is normally part of the process but was also waived by the executive order.
The department is working with Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor to provide free “learning facilitator” training to students who can serve as substitutes or paraprofessionals in schools after a one-week boot camp.
Buxton-based School Administrative District 6 moved to remote learning recently due to shortages of bus drivers and mechanics who were in quarantine after potential exposure.
“We’re all thinking about teachers, but there’s another whole side that’s critical to the ability to function, and that’s maintenance and facilities. , Superintendent Paul Penna said the district (backslash)All the things that keep our schools functioning behind the scenes are critical.”
MASS. FUNERAL WORKERS SEEK HIGHER PRIORITY FOR VACCINATIONS
Funeral workers in Massachusetts are asking to be included in the first phase of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, but so far state officials have resisted the request.
C.R. Lyons, a Danvers funeral director and president of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association, said he was “dumbfounded” by the decision, The Telegram & Gazette reported.
The funeral association has been lobbying Gov. Charkie Baker to bump about 1,900 funeral workers into the first phase of vaccinations, noting that many other states have done so and funeral workers are the only COVID-19-facing workers in the state not currently in the first phase.
Funeral workers are caring for bodies of COVID-19 victims every day, requiring them to regularly visit COVID-19 wings of hospitals and nursing homes, they said. Many funeral workers have become sick with the virus, Lyons said.
A spokesperson for the state COVID-19 Command Center in a statement said the current plan is based on the recommendations of an advisory group made up of health professionals, community leaders and local officials, and that the funeral business was moved from phase three to phase two on Jan. 12.