Vt. vax rate hits 85%; officials say delta expected to peak soon

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 9:38 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont officials Tuesday said the surge in delta variant cases seen this month is expected to peak soon and that Vermont remains in a good position with its 85% vaccination rate.

“All of these signs point to the Northeast entering a time where cases will continue to slow and then fall over the next couple of weeks,” said DFR Commissioner Mike Pieciak. His latest forecast modeling shows COVID infections and hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase through the end of August, but that Vermont continues to have the fewest hospitalizations per capita nationally -- 71% -- among those not fully vaccinated. Since January, officials say 630 fully-vaccinated individuals have tested positive (0.15% ); 18 have been hospitalized (.004%); and eight people have died (.002%).

Despite the rise in cases and the return to school in a few weeks, Governor Phil Scott says he has no intention of placing any new restrictions or guidelines. That’s because Vermont’s 85.1% vaccination rate continues to lead the nation, protecting most Vermonters from the brunt of the disease. “When you look beyond one metric, you continue to see that vaccines work,” Scott said. “I wouldn’t say this is taking over but it is something that we’re monitoring and watching and we’ll react accordingly.” He says he’s confident Vermont can continue to make progress by following basic precautions and pushing vaccinations.

“The bottom line is masks are a simple effective layer to add between where the virus is and where it wants to go,” said Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. He says booster shots are now available for populations with compromised immune systems. “That third dose is really just helping them complete a series,” he said. It comes as U.S. health experts are soon expected to recommend COVID-19 booster shots eight months after people get their second dose of the vaccine.

As of Tuesday, Vermont health officials reported 61 new coronavirus cases for a total of 26,397 There have been a total of 264 deaths. The state’s percent positive seven-day average is 3.3%. A total of 427,573 people have been tested, and 24,496 have recovered.

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