Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger held a virtual update on the city’s response to an uptick in COVID-19 infections, urging those who have not yet been vaccinated to remain alert and stay safe.
“This is a partially risky time,” he said. “We see that there is quite a bit of the virus circulating in the community right now and it may be more transmissible right now than at earlier times in this pandemic.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Phil Scott outlined a plan to reopen Vermont by July 4th. But Weinberger still wants Vermonter’s to keep safety a top priority. “Just because the end of this pandemic is in sight doesn’t mean we are at the end,” Weinberger said.
The City of Burlington started testing wastewater at three wastewater plants for the B 1.1.7 variant back in February. In the beginning there was very little detection of the variant, but that has changed, the mayor said.
“We can now look and see that of the COVID that is being detected at all three plants,” he said. “Of all of the viruses that we are detecting, 50 to 75% is showing indications of these mutations,” he said.
The wastewater plant tests show that the B 1.1.7 variant is the most dominant type of COVID-19 virus in Burlington. Dr. Stephen Leffler, president and COO of UVM Medical Center, said B 1.1.7 transmits faster and can spread quickly.
“We have a very transmissible variant in this state and it’s infecting a lot of people right now,” he said.
Now there is recent possible indication of a new type of variant, the P1or Brazilian variant. It currently remains at low levels but is a confirmation that the mutation of an additional variant might be present.
“It’s time for our 50-year-olds and younger to start getting vaccinated and being able to sign up. That’s the key and the way out of this,” Leffler said.