Rate of COVID-19 cases plateaus in Vermont

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Tuesday marked 10 months since Vermont’s first death from COVID-19, and while things can quickly change for better or worse, COVID-19 cases appear to finally be trending down nationwide — and in Vermont.

“This is the first sustained case decrease not associated with a slow down in testing from a holiday since late July,” said Commissioner of Financial Regulation Michael Pieciak. “In fact, the 7-day testing average is the highest its ever been”

He says Vermont saw an 18% decline in cases this week, and the impact from the holidays does not appear to be fueling new cases. As of Tuesday, 35,000 Vermonters have been vaccinated, including 5,000 who have received the second dose. State leaders continue to back their ‘age-based’ prioritization as Governor Phil Scott says the state is at the mercy of the federal government when it comes to how many doses it gets.

“Over-promising is not the answer,” the governor said. “The logical approach is to manage the supply of the vaccine we’re receiving and if we’re allotted more, we’ll scale up.”

Vermont is receiving around 8,000 doses each week. Officials are expected to share more information on vaccine sign ups Friday as registration for those 75 and older begins next week. According to state Health Commissioner Mark Levine, it’s too early to know the impact of vaccinations at the state’s long term care facilities. He also says the UK variant of the virus will be in Vermont soon, if it isn’t already..

“It may take over as the dominant strain by March,” Levine said. “Scientists still believe the current vaccines will be effective.”

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