Health Care

Vermont reports 236 cases, one new death; seven-day average still high

The Vermont Department of Health reported 236 Covid-19 cases Friday and disclosed one new death. If trends continue, October will have a lower death total than September.

The state has reported 15 deaths so far in October, while September had 45. In total, 343 people in Vermont have died in the pandemic.

The seven-day case average hit 218 cases per day, down from 245 three days ago. But the seven-day average is still far higher than almost any other point in the pandemic, the latest curve in an alternating series of rising and falling case numbers since the beginning of September.

Forty-five people are in the hospital with the virus, including 12 in intensive care units.

The state hit a small milestone on Friday: More than half a million people have been tested for Covid, according to department data. That includes nearly 2.2 million PCR tests, since some Vermonters have been tested multiple times at places such as schools, colleges and long-term care facilities. 

Those figures do not include the faster but slightly less accurate antigen tests.

The seven-day test positivity rate has hovered between 2.5% and 3.5% since the Delta surge began in August, compared with less than 1% during the June and July lull in cases. But that’s still far lower than the 5% positivity rate used as a benchmark for loosening restrictions earlier in the pandemic.

Testing has surged as well, driven not only by rising infections but also by Covid protocols at schools and colleges. The seven-day testing average has risen to around 6,000 tests per day in the past few days from around 2,000 tests at the beginning of August.

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Erin Petenko

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