Covid-19 updates, Local News

Gov. Scott is confident Vermonters can celebrate Fourth safely

Eligible and unvaccinated drops below 1,000

By Hannah Laga Abram

Covid-19 may have put our lives on hold, but we sure are ahead of schedule getting back to them. 

Gov. Phil Scott’s Vermont Forward Plan, which the state has been following since early this spring, looked toward July 4 as an optimistic reopening date. Instead, the announcement that all Covid restrictions would be lifted came more than two weeks early. And following 19 straight days of new statewide virus cases in the single digits, Scott hopes Vermonter’s are getting ready to celebrate. 

“After 16 long, miserable months, Vermonter’s can feel safe celebrating Independence Day with friends and family,” Scott said in Tuesday’s press conference. 

As of Tuesday, 81.9% of eligible Vermonter’s had received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 72.3% fully vaccinated. Meanwhile the number of eligible Vermonters who have yet to receive the vaccine has dropped below 1,000. 

Windsor County reported no new coronavirus case today, with 16 cases in the past 14 days. Rutland County also had no new cases as of Tuesday, with six in the past 14 days. 

Covid trends are also looking up on the other side of the border, with 67.8% of Canadians having received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Scott said he could only speculate about when the border might open, but he’s optimistic about “late July.” 

Scott and his team stressed how important vaccinations have been in Vermont’s swift and relatively painless reopening and encouraged folks who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so. While pop-up clinics continue around the state, an increasing number of pharmacies and primary care providers are offering walk-in vaccine appointments, said Dr. Mark Levine, state commissioner of health. He added that as the summer progresses, fair grounds will play host to targeted vaccination clinics, with a map of locations forthcoming in the next two weeks. 

“At this point there are opportunities for all Vermonters who want a vaccine to get a vaccine,” Dr. Levine said. And this is the moment to do it. “If anything sneaky is going to happen with this virus, it’s going to be in the fall and winter months when we’re congregating inside again,” Dr. Levine said, adding that vaccinated individuals will be protected.

For now, Scott closed: “Happy Fourth of July!”

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