One year after Vermont’s first virus case, governor optimistic

Local News

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott stands on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse during a ceremony where he took the Oath of Office on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 Montpelier, Vt. Scott, a Republican, is beginning his third two-year term. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

One year after Vermont had its first case of COVID-19, Gov. Phil Scott said Friday he’s optimistic about the future.

No one one could have predicted a year ago that “just 12 months later we’d already have three safe and effective vaccines rolling out to defend ourselves,” the Republican governor said during his twice weekly virus briefing. “Think about that.”

As of Thursday, 20% of Vermonters over the age of 16 have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, Scott said. Starting next week the state will open up the vaccines to Vermonters with underlying health conditions, teachers and more public safety workers.

“This means within a month, one-third of the eligible population could be vaccinated and all the most vulnerable to severe illness and death will have had the opportunity to protected,” he said.

The state should see hospitalization rates and deaths continue to drop and with possible increases in the supply of vaccines the state may be able to open eligibility sooner than planned, the governor said.

Starting Monday, Vermonters aged 55-64 with an eligible high risk condition can make vaccine appointments. People aged 16 to 54 with such conditions can register the following week.

A call center for homebound people who have not been vaccinated or made an appointment is now available at 833-722-0860, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.

As of Friday, 113,865 Vermonters have been vaccinated with 52,631 getting their first dose and 61,234 receiving their second doses, he said.


THE NUMBERS

Vermont reported 126 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday for a statewide total since the pandemic began of more than 15,800.

A total of 26 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including four in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 128.57 new cases per day on Feb. 18 to 120.86 new cases per day on March 4.

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