Vermont sees drop in average age of those who have virus

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Statistics show that the average age of people becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 is declining in Vermont, officials said Friday.

In March and April the average age of people testing positive was between 50 and 55, said Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak, who has been overseeing the collection of data about the COVID-19 pandemic in Vermont. In May, the average was between 40 and 50. Over the last six weeks, it has been under 40.

“This illustrates that more vulnerable Vermonters, at least by age, have done a really good job of protecting themselves during Vermont’s re-start and so have the many facilities across our state that house vulnerable Vermonters, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities,” Pieciak said during the regular virus briefing by state officials.

ermont continues to meet the metrics established to continue the reopening of the state.

But Pieciak said the number of counties from across the Northeast where residents are eligible to visit Vermont without quarantining has gone down in the last week. Now about 11.5 million people are eligible, down from about 13.5 million people a week ago.

People from the areas deemed too high to visit Vermont without quarantining may still visit the state, but they must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival or quarantine for a week and then test negative for the virus.

HOUSING ASSISTANCE

Gov. Phil Scott and other administration officials on Friday announced programs to help Vermont renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure and to help landlords whose tenants are having trouble paying their rent.

Starting Monday, renters will be able to apply for help via a $25 million program run by the Vermont State Housing Authority .

Homeowners who are having trouble making mortgage payments will be eligible for assistance through the Vermont Housing Finance Agency.

The Vermont Landlord Association will be helping landlords whose tenants are unable to pay their rent.

Tenants and homeowners will be able to get help applying for funds through Vermont Legal Aid.

NUMBERS

On Friday, the state reported five new positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just under 1,280.

Vermont has not seen a COVID-19 fatality since mid-June, with the number holding at 56.

Vermont is continuing to see a small, but steady number of new cases from across the state, but none appear to be part of wider community spread of the virus, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

“This is indeed our new normal in the COVID-19 era,” Levine said. “It is the expected consequence of the transition from stay-home, stay-safe to our current, less restrictive existence.”

He said he has noticed that the number of new cases reported has fluctuated greatly day-to-day, but he did not have a good explanation.

“I do go to bed at night asking that question,” Levine said. “We do go from five, to 17 to zero.”

He said the state is testing more than 1,000 a day and pop up testing locations set up to deal with local outbreaks could also be playing a role.

“It’s really, really very random,″ he said.

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