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Vt. coronavirus case count creeps back toward highs of April

VtDigger
Published: 10/26/2020 9:05:27 PM
Modified: 10/26/2020 9:11:32 PM

Vermont’s seven-day case total is the highest since the peak of the pandemic in April, according to Department of Health data.

The health department announced nine new cases this morning, fewer than in recent days, but high enough to push the total for the recent spate of outbreaks past the total for the surge from the Winooski outbreak in early June.

The seven-day case total of 139 is the result of several outbreaks, most notably one in central Vermont stemming from an ice rink in Montpelier. That outbreak had a total of 43 cases as of Friday.

Another outbreak at St. Michael’s College has resulted 26 cases, sending more than 100 people into quarantine and prompting the school to go to remote classes. A wedding outbreak and two cases at Waterbury Legion also have contributed to the rising case total.

Many of these cases have been connected to K-12 schools as well. VtDigger’s compilation of school data found 26 cases so far in Vermont schools, seven of which are in Union Elementary School in Montpelier.

While officials have expressed concern about the rise in cases — warning Vermonters to avoid pandemic fatigue and to obey the state’s travel laws — the cases still have a way to go to hit the peak they reached in April. The highest seven-day case total recorded was 290, reached on April 9.

The state also has increased testing since the beginning of the pandemic: 6,900 people were tested in the past seven days, compared to mid-April when it was testing about 3,000 people a week.

The percent of tests coming back positive stands at around 2%, the highest that metric has been since early May — but remains far lower than the positivity rate of 10% or more reached in early April.

And even as cases rise, severe cases of the illnesses seem to be infrequent.

The state currently reports three people in the hospital from the virus, far lower than the peak of 35 in April. No new deaths have been reported since July 28.

It’s worth noting that experts have said hospitalization and death data lags behind case data, since it takes time for complications to arise and send people to the hospital. This outlook may change in the weeks ahead.

However, the low number of hospitalizations compared to the early stages of the pandemic is likely tied to how the demographics of the outbreak have shifted. Many of the cases and deaths in March and April were related to long-term care facility outbreaks, where older Vermonters and people with health conditions are more likely to live.

Vermonters aged 20-29 are now the age group with the highest case total, but Vermonters aged 80 or above have the highest number of deaths.




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