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"Breakthrough cases," in which a vaccinated person contracts COVID-19, have occurred among 161 of the 250,000-plus fully-vaccinated Vermonters, the Vermont Department of Health has reported. That translates to one in more than 1,550, or 0.06 percent.

"COVID-19 vaccines prevent most people from getting seriously ill from COVID-19. However, the vaccines are not 100 percent effective," the department said in its weekly data analysis. "This means a very small number of fully-vaccinated people will still get sick with COVID-19."

Fully-vaccinated means 14 days have passed after a person receives their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or single dose of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the department explained.

According to health officials, vaccine breakthrough cases are less likely to be symptomatic. Forty-two percent of vaccine breakthrough cases have reported no symptoms, compared to 21 percent among those not vaccinated. Six hospitalizations, or 3.1 percent of the breakthrough cases, have been reported.

To date, vaccine breakthrough cases are more likely to be health workers or residents in a long-term care facility, the department said. It noted that these populations had the opportunity to get vaccinated earlier, and that they may have increased risk for exposure compared to the general population.

The department emphasized that COVID-19 vaccines are effective, and recommended that all eligible people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them.

VACCINATION CLINICS OFFERED FOR HOSPITALITY WORKERS

In partnership with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Vermont Department of Health is hosting walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics for restaurant, hospitality, and tourism workers over the next few weeks.

All clinics are walk-in and do not require pre-registration. Each site will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Clinics will be staged at restaurants, lodging properties, ski resorts, and other tourism attractions to bring the vaccine directly to the workers.

For a schedule of upcoming clinics, visit https://accd.vermont.gov/vaccine.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY BRIDGE GRANTS ON THE WAY

Businesses that have not received prior state or federal COVID-19 assistance will soon be eligible to apply for bridge grants, according to the state Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The program will also provide financial help for businesses that have suffered a tax loss even after receiving federal or state aid.

The program uses $10 million of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Further guidance and information regarding the launch date for the program, application portal, FAQs, and translated versions of materials will be posted soon on the ACCD's website at https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/economic-recovery-bridge-grants. The application portal is expected to be live in early June 2021.

BENNINGTON COUNTY STILL AT HIGH RISK

Bennington County is still considered high risk by the nonprofit Covid ActNow, with a seven-day average of daily new cases per 100,000 residents that has risen to 16.5. Bennington County’s infection rate, up a bit to 0.75, shows that active cases are decreasing, while a positive test rate of 2.4 percent indicates widespread testing.

Windham County remains in the medium risk category, with a seven-day average that has fallen to 6.1 daily new cases. The county’s infection rate, down to 0.69, shows that COVID-19 on the decrease, and a positive test rate of 2.9 percent shows widespread testing.

Among surrounding counties, Rutland County in Vermont, Washington County in New York and Cheshire and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire are also considered high risk. Windsor County in Vermont, Berkshire County in Massachusetts and Rensselaer County in New York are a medium risk, according to Covid ActNow.

Bennington County has reported 71 new cases over the past two weeks, and Windham County has reported 41. Chittenden County, Vermont’s largest county, has had 114 over the same period.

Bennington County continues to have the highest infection rate of COVID-19 in Vermont, at 567.2 cases per 10,000 residents since the beginning of the pandemic. Orleans County remains second, at 462.3, while the rate in Windham County is 316.9 per 10,000.

THE DAILY NUMBERS

The health department reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont on Saturday, and 28 on Sunday, for a total of 84. The state’s cumulative total since the start of the pandemic is 23,883, which is 91 higher than Friday’s total. The discrepancy was not explained.

No Vermonters died of COVID-19 over the past two days. The state’s death toll remains at 252.

Ten Vermonters were hospitalized with the disease as of Sunday, with none of those patients in intensive care.

Each of Vermont’s 14 counties reported new cases over the past two days. Rutland County had the greatest number, at 18, followed by Windsor County with 13; Washington County with 10; Bennington, Chittenden, and Orleans counties with eight each; Addison and Orange counties, with four each; Caledonia County, with three; Franklin, Lamoille, and Windham counties, with two each; and Essex and Grand Isle counties, with one each.

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So far, 388,548 people have been tested. The reported statewide seven-day average for positive tests has edged up to 1.1 percent.

The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 was 22,080, an increase of 199 since Friday.

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.

VACCINE UPDATE

As of Saturday, 70.9 percent of eligible Vermonters — 388,314 people — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the health department reports. Of that number, 288,700 people — 52.8 percent — have received a first and last dose.

As of Saturday, 70.8 percent of eligible Bennington County residents and 65.7 percent of eligible Windham County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The highest percentage of eligible residents vaccinated still belongs to Addison County, at 79.0 percent. Essex County continues to lag the rest of the state, at 53.1 percent.

To date, Vermont has received 773,400 doses of vaccine, 83.9 percent of which have been administered.

All Vermonters age 12 and older are now eligible for vaccines and can make appointments at healthvermont.gov/myvaccine or by calling 855-722-7878.

SIX FLAGS REOPENS IN MASS.

Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass., has reopened, with safety precautions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state on Monday allowed amusement parks, outdoor water parks and theme parks to reopen at half capacity. Six Flags opened Friday night.

“Rides are now open! See you at the park!” Six Flags said Saturday on Facebook.

Reservations are required, and visitors must wear masks, have their temperatures checked and attest to having been healthy for the prior two weeks.

MASK REQUIREMENT DROPPED FOR VACCINATED FANS

Fans of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats no longer have to wear masks at the Manchester stadium if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Fisher Cats President Mike Ramshaw says fans who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks, and some sections at Delta Dental Stadium will be reserved for socially-distanced seating.

Seating is currently at half-capacity, but officials plan to expand to full capacity next month.

YALE ADDS FACULTY, STAFF TO VACCINE REQUIREMENT

Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university announced the new requirement Friday. It said faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, though there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

Many Yale staffers are in unions. The university said it was discussing the implementation of the policy with them.

“As a leading global research university, we have a responsibility to demonstrate to others the importance of taking actions based on evidence,” and there’s plenty of it showing the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing the virus’s spread, Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel wrote in a letter to the Yale community.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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