Health Care

Vermont reports 34 new Covid-19 cases, highest daily total in 2 months

Updated at 5:49 p.m.

Vermont reported 34 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily total since May 20. Fifteen new cases were reported in Chittenden County.

Case counts have been increasing for the past two weeks in Vermont, though overall prevalence of the virus remains low. Hospitalizations and deaths remain near zero, with one Vermonter currently hospitalized and one death reported so far during the month of July.

Cases are rising in every state as the more contagious Delta variant spreads. As of Tuesday, the variant represented an estimated 83% of new cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to health experts, Covid-19 vaccines remain effective against the Delta variant. 

Vermont boasts the highest vaccination rate in the country, with 67% of the population fully vaccinated. But outbreaks in states with lower vaccination rates are worrying observers.

Mark Levine, Vermont’s health commissioner, said Tuesday that more transmissible variants were likely the cause of the recent increase in cases.

“Anyone who is not vaccinated is at risk — and with this more contagious variant, a higher risk than ever before,” Levine said.

While some vaccinated Vermonters have been infected — known as breakthrough cases — unvaccinated people make up 12 times the number of new cases as vaccinated people, Levine said Tuesday.

Health department data published Wednesday shows a concentration of the Delta variant in Chittenden County. Six samples have been detected in the county so far, with one sample in Addison County and no others throughout the state. (The department warns that only a small percentage of Covid-19 test samples are screened for the presence of variants, and variants may be present even in counties that do not show any positive samples.)

Meagan Tuttle, Covid response leader for the City of Burlington, said on Thursday that city officials were monitoring the case data in Chittenden County, although it is not yet clear how many of the new cases are from the city.

Based on case data and ongoing wastewater monitoring, Tuttle said, "we're pretty confident that the risk is low. And so we just continue the work that we've been doing to monitor what's happening."

Vermont Department of Health spokesperson Katie Warchut said Thursday that there was not a specific situation in any part of the state driving the increase.

The department is responding, however, to reports of a cluster of cases in Provincetown, Mass., a popular vacation spot. Local health officials now say 256 cases are linked to an outbreak there, and Vermont officials are encouraging any Vermonters "who traveled or are associated with people who traveled to Provincetown in July" to get tested, according to a news release.

As of Thursday, the department said, there are "fewer than 10" Vermonters who had tested positive after recent travel to Provincetown.

The health department reported new cases Thursday in 11 of Vermont’s 14 counties:

  • Addison: 4
  • Bennington: 2
  • Chittenden: 15
  • Essex: 1
  • Franklin: 1
  • Lamoille: 1
  • Orange: 3
  • Orleans: 1
  • Rutland: 2
  • Windham: 3
  • Windsor: 1

The seven-day average test positivity rate was 1.2%.

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Mike Dougherty

About Mike

Mike Dougherty is VTDigger’s digital editor. He is a DC-area native and studied journalism and music at New York University. Prior to joining VTDigger, Mike spent two years as a program coordinator for the Vermont Humanities Council. Before moving to Vermont in 2015, he spent seven years managing recording operations for the oral history nonprofit StoryCorps, assisted Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas, and contributed to the Brooklyn-based alt-weekly L Magazine.

Email: [email protected]

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