Getting the vaccine

Erica Heishman, LPN, administers the first shot of the COVID vaccine to Elle Fischer of Arlington at the ExpressCare walk-in clinic at SVHC on Tuesday afternoon. Elle said she was there to get her shot so she could get to her job at VPIRG, going door to door to help pass environmental change policies. Eighteen people were given the vaccine during the 2.5 hours of the walk-in clinic on Tuesday.

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Vermont is 64 vaccinations closer to the end of the governor’s coronavirus restrictions, thanks to the patients who visited the walk-in vaccination clinic at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center ExpressCare this week.

“Tuesday through Thursday we had a total of 64 patients. The numbers showed that there is still a continued public interest in preventive health,” said Katie Gulley, clinical nurse manager for ExpressCare. “There were plenty of patients in the 12-18 age range, especially Wednesday and Thursday, which was wonderful. The public thanked us for the opportunity.”

“There are people in the community who wished to be in doctor’s office setting for their first dose of the vaccine. For these individuals, the option of ExpressCare was welcome news,” said Trey Dobson, MD, SVMC’s chief medical officer.

When the state reaches an 80 percent vaccination rate, Gov. Phil Scott has promised to lift the state’s remaining coronavirus-related restrictions. The state has calculated that, as of Friday, another 7,878 Vermonters will need to get their shots to hit that mark.

12 NEW CASES REPORTED

The health department reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont on Friday. The state’s cumulative total since the start of the pandemic is now 24,252.

The cases were scattered across eight of Vermont’s 14 counties. Chittenden, Orange, Orleans and Windsor counties each had two new cases, while Bennington, Lamoille, Washington and Windham counties each had one. Reporting no new cases were Addison, Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle and Rutland counties.

One Vermonter died of COVID-19 over the past day, the health department reported Friday, bringing the state’s death toll to 256. It was Vermont’s first COVID-related death since May 16.

One Vermonter was hospitalized with the disease.

So far, 395,047 people have been tested. The reported statewide seven-day average for positive tests has dipped to .08 percent.

The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 is now 23,256, an increase of 48 since Thursday.

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.

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COUNTY STILL AT ‘MEDIUM RISK’

In Bennington County, the seven-day average of daily new cases per 100,000 residents has plunged to 1.6, while the infection rate, up slightly to 0.65, shows that active cases are decreasing, the nonprofit Covid ActNow reported Wednesday. A positive test rate of 1.0 percent indicates widespread testing.

In Windham County, the seven-day average has remained steady to 1.7 daily new cases. The county’s infection rate, virtually unchanged at 0.74, shows that COVID-19 on the decrease, and a positive test rate of 0.8 percent shows widespread testing.

Chittenden, Franklin and Orange counties are now in the low-risk category, the lowest ranking on the scale, while the remainder of the state is still medium-risk.

Berkshire County in Massachusetts moved into the low-risk category on Friday. The rest of the counties bordering Bennington and Windham counties in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire are now considered medium risk.

Bennington County has reported 13 new cases over the past two weeks, and Windham County has reported 14. Chittenden County, Vermont’s largest county, has had 28 over the same period.

VACCINATION RATE UP TO 78.6

As of Friday, 78.6 percent of all Vermonters age 12 and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s an increase of just one-tenth of a percent from Thursday.

The vaccination rate is 73.9 percent for Bennington County, and 71.6 percent for Windham County. Chittenden leads all Vermont counties, at 81.4 percent.

To date, Vermont has received 899,400 doses of vaccine, 85.2 percent of which have been administered.

A number of walk-in vaccination clinics are now available across the state. For an updated list, visit https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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