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COVID-19 testing sites see increase in people

Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 6:37 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:15 AM EST
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WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) - Over the weekend, the Vermont Health Department reported 771 new cases of COVID-19 in the state.

“Almost everyone in the state is vaccinated and we’re still going through surges. When does it end?” wondered Eric Marshall, a high school teacher in Vermont.

Marshall says with growing case numbers in his school district, getting tested was the best option.

“We’ve both had some positive cases in our classrooms recently. My wife teaches elementary school [and] she heard that one of her kids was positive. So we figured, better be safe than sorry,” Marshall said.

James Watson is a clinician at the Winooski state testing site. He says last Sunday, the clinic administered a record number of tests tallying almost 230.

“We see a lot of kids coming in for schools and things like that. A lot of kids who have been exposed to someone in their classroom or school bus,” Watson said. “People looking to end their quarantine because they were exposed to someone. There’s been kind of a rise in people required by their employer to get tested as well.”

The Vermont Health Department’s contact tracers are struggling to keep up with the surge and are prioritizing calls to high-risk people.

Officials took to Twitter Saturday writing, “Due to the large number of COVID-19 cases, we are asking Vermonters who test positive to isolate at home away from other people and begin reaching out to close contacts immediately.”

Those at the testing site say the situation is disappointing.

“I mean it’s a bummer,” Marshall said. “At the end of last school year we thought we would be back to normal by now, and that’s just not how it played out.”

“I definitely think we’ve been at the same place for a while and I think people get too excited and too ambitious,” Marley Ackley said. “People aren’t patient enough and people haven’t waited it out and we just jump back into things.”

Watson says you’ll need to practice patience if you think you may be COVID positive.

“All of the tests that we compile here and collect here, they are shipped out of state to a test lab in order to be processed. There is a delay. The state guarantees 3-5 days for the results. Often times they come back much faster than that, but it depends upon how backed up the lab is and other logistical factors.”

The Vermont Department of Health is urging some people to ask their doctor about monoclonal antibody treatment as soon they get a positive test result.

A social media post says the treatment works best for those with mild to moderate symptoms in the first five days and can reduce the chance of being hospitalized by 70%.

People who are over 65 or have a high-risk medical condition should ask about it.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are over 65 or have a high-risk medical condition, ask your health care provider...

Posted by Vermont Department of Health on Sunday, November 14, 2021

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