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BENNINGTON — The latest COVID-19 map for the state of Vermont, showing community levels by county as of Jan. 19 — with green designating counties with a low incidence of COVID and orange showing high case counts — Bennington County remained a small island of orange on an otherwise green state map.

“We have consistently seen increased activity in Bennington County throughout the pandemic and have attributed that to the fluid nature of the area with crossover among residents and workers between New York and Massachusetts,” the Vermont Health Department said in an email Friday.

The New York state map shows orange results for nearby Rensselaer and Albany, N.Y., counties to Bennington’s west, and yellow (medium incidence) for Franklin County, N.H., to the south — although abutting Berkshire County, Mass., is green on the map.

In Northern New England, Vermont’s almost totally green map reflects a lower statewide incidence of COVID than other states, which reflect a mix of high, medium and low COVID caseloads.

On a positive note, the latest report showed an increase in case numbers in Bennington, but not hospitalizations, so it’s possible there is more COVID testing happening in the area, according to the state.

According to the CDC tracking system, Vermont had seen a total of 389 cases this year as of Jan. 18. Just over 4,000 COVID tests had been recorded, showing a roughly 9 percent positivity rate.

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Locally, from Jan. 12 to 18, Bennington County reported 25 cases of COVID, with 434 test results and seven new hospitalizations. Windham County had 26 cases, with 346 testing, and two new hospitalizations. Over the extent of the pandemic, 619,297 Vermonters have received at least one dose of the vaccination; 533,368 have received the primary series, including 95 percent of those 65 and older who are especially vulnerable to the virus (95 percent of the total population have received at least one vaccination).

Just over 53 percent of Bennington County residents have received at least one vaccination, while 86 percent of Windham County residents have been vaccinated. Only Essex, Caledonia and Franklin counties have a lower vaccination rate than Bennington.

Windham County has the third highest rate in the state, behind Grand Isle and Chittenden. The advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Windham County, with the lower incident rate, is to stay up to date on vaccines; get tested if you have symptoms; and wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19.

For Bennington County, with its high rate of COVID, the advice is to wear a mask indoors in public; stay up to date on vaccines; and get tested if you have symptoms.

Anyone at high risk (those who are immunocompromised, older, have asthma or are pregnant) should take additional precautions that could include using improved ventilation and avoiding contact with people who have suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Our recommendations are to keep using all the tools we have — get vaccinated, prevent the spread of germs by staying home when sick, and getting tested when needed,” the Health Department advised. “People can consider wearing a mask, especially if they are at higher risk of serious illness or are around others who are.”


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