State officials are urging Vermonters to get the COVID-19 vaccine and take other precautions as case counts continue to rise with no relief in sight.
Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, said Tuesday that average daily case counts have risen from about 200 to more than 300 in the last six weeks. The 7-day average is up 42 percent since last Tuesday, he said.
“What that tells us is the prevalence of the virus is greater than it was week or two ago,” he said. “It’s not just a matter of testing or some other data anomaly.”
Pieciak said the state’s modeling does not anticipate cases decreasing over the next four weeks increase. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said that’s because of the “incredibly contagious” Delta variant, as well as changes in Vermonters’ behavior.
“We are more mobile and traveling and hosting visitors,” he said. “Doing things in person and gathering more, especially indoors as the weather cools down.”.
Younger Vermonters are contracting the virus more quickly than adults, officials said. Case rates in children ages 5-11 are double those of adults ages 19 and older. Levine said vaccinations among younger children, which began last week, are off to a strong start. About 30 percent of children ages 5-11 have gotten their first shots or have an appointment.
“I want to give a huge thanks to the literally thousands and thousands of parents, guardians, caregivers who’ve already acted on the decision to vaccinate their children,” Levine said.
Levine is also encouraging Vermonters to keep gatherings safe by reducing their size and hosting them outside, if possible. He suggests masking up indoors and getting tested before and after an event.