Vt. daily case count vaults past pandemic record

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 12:03 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 12:40 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont on Thursday reached another grim pandemic milestone, hitting the highest daily case count recorded so far. It comes as hospitalizations and deaths are also the highest they’ve been.

Vermont Health officials reported an additional 487 new COVID cases, vaulting past the previous record of 347 cases in mid-October. Back then, officials blamed a computer processing glitch. but this time the health department confirmed there were no errors. Vermont also recorded an additional six deaths Thursday, bringing the toll so far this week to about 15.

Gov. Phil Scott late Thursday said the spike should come as a wake-up call. “Enough is enough, it’s time to step up and get vaccinated – something over 90% of your fellow Vermont adults have done,” Scott said in a statement. “Choosing not to take these steps is leading to unnecessary illness, hospitalizations, and death in our communities.”

Vermonters we spoke with were dismayed by the setback. “I’m surprised, I have no idea why that would be,” said Katharine Drury of Plainfield.

“All I can say is my heart and my prayers are with them,” said Martin.

Officials say the higher case count is across age groups and indicated more viral spread in the community, potentially driven by Halloween parties. “The cases are not uniform in geography across Vermont or across age group. When you look where the cases are the highest, it’s in some of the counties that are the least vaccinated,” said DFR Commissioner Mike Pieciak. He says the three lowest vaccinated counties -- Essex, Orleans, and Caledonia -- account for 25% of Thursday’s cases but make up 10% of the state’s population.

The daily case numbers also come as testing is close to record levels. Vermont conducted over 18,200 COIVD tests Wednesday, meaning Thursday’s positivity rate would be about 2.7%. “It’s time to be part of the solution so we do not see sustained case counts like this into the fall and winter,” Pieciak said.

Hospital capacity also remains high -- 55 people on Thursday with 19 in the ICU. Governor Scott said it was vital to keep hospitalizations down. “If we stayed at this level of cases, based on our current hospitalization rate, there is potential to see the number of people currently hospitalized increase to over 80, which would be a significant strain on the system,” Gov. Scott said.

Officials urged Vermonters to mask up indoors, get tested, and get vaccinated -- including boosters.

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