Covid-19 updates

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Covid levels remain ‘low’ as the state stops reporting PCR testing data

March 8, 2023
By Kate O’Farrell/VTDigger Vermont’s Covid-19 community levels remained “low” this past week, the state Dept. of Health reported Wednesday, March 1, rounding out the month of February with consistently low community levels.  The number of cases, hospital admissions and people in Vermont hospitals for Covid have remained relatively flat in recent weeks as XBB became the dominant strain…

End to national Covid-19 emergency order could affect Vermont’s ability to fight disease

February 8, 2023
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger On Monday, Jan. 30, President Joe Biden announced that the federal government plans to end the emergency declarations for Covid-19 on May 11, a move that could affect Vermonters’ ability to access vaccinations, testing and treatment for the disease. The national emergency and public health emergency declarations related to Covid have been in…

Covid-19 levels rise to ‘medium’ as XBB becomes main strain

January 11, 2023
Covid-19 community levels rose to “medium” last week, the Vermont Department of Health reported. The rising number of hospital admissions was mainly responsible for the state moving from “low” to “medium,” according to the department. It reported 67 new hospital admissions for Covid in the past week, compared with 33 the week before.  As of Wednesday, Jan. 4,…

Vermont’s Covid levels remain ‘low’ as new wave begins nationwide

December 14, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger Vermont’s Covid-19 levels are still “low,” according to the state Department of Health’s weekly surveillance report, Dec. 7. The weekly update comes amid a national rise in Covid cases and hospitalizations, according to The New York Times. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have all reported a rise in Covid levels, particularly in…

Covid levels ‘low’ on eve of holiday gatherings

November 28, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger Vermont’s Covid-19 levels remain “low,” according to the latest weekly surveillance update from the state Department of Health prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Most Vermont counties also have low Covid levels, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only Bennington County, which hit “high” Covid levels in October, reported “medium” Covid levels in…

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Covid levels ‘low’ as Omicron booster campaign kicks off

September 14, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger Covid-19 levels in Vermont remain “low,” according to the Vermont Department of Health’s latest weekly surveillance update. The data comes amid the first week of the Omicron booster, also called the bivalent vaccine, which became available Wednesday, Sept. 7 in Vermont. This booster specifically targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. About 80% of…

New Covid-19 booster vaccine now available

September 7, 2022
Bivalent vaccine offers protection against new virus variants State health officials announced Tuesday, Sept. 6, that Vermonters will be able to receive the newly approved Covid-19 vaccine booster shots starting Wednesday, Sept. 7. The updated boosters are designed to be a match for the BA.5 Omicron variant currently affecting most people. Last week, the CDC…

Covid mitigation efforts left up to schools, nurses

August 17, 2022
Staff report New state guidance released last Wednesday, Aug. 10, leaves Covid mitigation up to school nurses this school year. The Vermont Agency of Education and Department of Health release was three-pages of loose guidance, signed by Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French and Health Commissioner Mark Levine. The state said it is aimed at establishing…

Local doctors explain the current risks of Covid, monkeypox for Vermonters

August 3, 2022
By Curt Peterson Local residents are worried about endless variants of Covid-19, and the new Monkeypox. As usual, these important topics are clouded by unanswered questions and misinformation. Both Dr. Rick Hildebrant, Rutland Regional Medical Center’s chief information officer and department chair of medicine, and Dr. John Perras, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center’s CEO,…

BA.5 is the latest of a ‘parade of surges’ to expect, Covid experts say

July 27, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger It’s been roughly a year since the Delta variant arrived in Vermont, reversing what had been a nearly Covid-free summer. Delta caused a surge in cases and hospitalizations, propelling what Health Commissioner Mark Levine deemed a new phase in the pandemic — only for Omicron to arrive in December, leading cases to…

CDC recommends Covid-19 vaccines for the youngest children

June 22, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Covid-19 vaccines for children age 6 months through 5 years of age on Saturday, June 18, paving the way for vaccinating the youngest Vermonters later this month. “This is very welcome news for the parents and caregivers who have been waiting for more than a year now…

State testing sites to close June 25

June 15, 2022
Vt Dept. of Health says 'get take-home tests now' Vermont Health Dept. testing sites will close June 25. Vermonters are encouraged to pick up free take-home tests from these sites to keep at home and use if needed. Vermonters can get up to four antigen test kits for each appointment, but only one LAMP (similar to…

Covid in schools leads to 50% absenteeism

May 18, 2022
By Curt Peterson At a recent Windsor Central Unified Union School District (WCSU) board meeting concern was raised about effects the latest variant of Covid is having on attendance. Student attendance below 51% on a given day means that day won’t count toward the state-required minimum number of education days for that school. Killington Elementary…

RRMC reopens Covid unit as cases rise

May 18, 2022
Rutland Regional Medical Center recently reopened 5 West as a dedicated negative pressure Covid unit. This action was taken to accommodate and balance the needs of Covid positive patients and the high patient census in the ICU. “Covid is still very much in our community,” said Rick Hildebrant, the chief medical information officer at Rutland…

Covid levels are ‘high,’ says CDC

May 18, 2022
8 of Vermont’s 14 counties are listed as ‘high’ based on cases, hospitalizations and capacity By Erin Petenko/VTDigger The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, May 12, that eight Vermont counties have “high” community Covid-19 levels. That’s a drop from the 12 counties with reportedly high levels last week. Grand Isle, Lamoille,…

Vermont will stop updating its Covid case dashboard May 18

May 18, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger The Vermont Department of Health plans to “phase out” the Covid-19 case dashboard that has been the centerpiece of its data reporting since March 2020, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at a press conference Tuesday, May 10. The dashboard — part of a collection of Covid data available on the department’s website…

Governor addresses pandemic at RRMC

April 13, 2022
By Katy Savage Gov. Phil Scott addressed the healthcare crisis on Wednesday, April 6 in front of a crowd of about 100 people during the Rutland Regional Medical Center’s annual meeting at the Paramount Theatre. Scott praised the staff at RRMC and other hospitals for being on the “front line of a battle we never…

Will Vermont see a BA.2 surge?

April 13, 2022
Experts are holding their breath By Erin Petenko/ VTDigger Timothy Plante likens Vermont’s day-to-day Covid-19 data now to the very first days of the virus’s arrival in March 2020.  At the time, little was known about the progress of the virus because PCR testing was so limited, said Plante, an assistant professor at the University…

Vaccination requirement lifted at Killington and Pico resorts

April 6, 2022
Staff report Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington/Pico Ski Resort Partners, LLC, announced in a letter to staff earlier this week that Covid-19 vaccination would no longer be required for employment. “On behalf of Powdr, I am pleased to announce that we are lifting the vaccine mandate for employment at Killington & Pico…

Getting a second Covid booster: What you need to know

April 6, 2022
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger On Tuesday, March 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of the second booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for people 50 and older and people with compromised immune systems. That booster is now available to all eligible Vermonters, according to Vermont Department of Health spokesperson Ben Truman.…