All of these case totals reflect tests performed at state sites as well as the results that individuals report from home self-tests. State public health officials are calling for people bring their test results home but it is not possible to know how many cases go unreported.
Data from last week showed the highest number of reported pandemic cases for communities in the Harwood Unified Union School District with 200 in total in the six cities combined. Waterbury led the pack, but each of the others recorded new cases:
Waitsfield added 39 cases for a total of 183; Warren saw 21 new cases reported for a total of 110. Those numbers were the highest for these two cities for the pandemic.
Moretown has recorded 13 new cases for a total of 140, the second weekly total after the previous week’s peak of 17.
State data reports recently flagged cases for Duxbury and this week Fayston added, which had presumably been included in tally for neighboring towns. Duxbury has 12 cases and Fayston 6.
The school district itself has put out several announcements over the past week to track cases among students and staff. In total, the district reported 22 new cases in the first week of the post-vacation session. The cases have been reported in five schools: 8 cases each at Harwood Union Middle / High School and Brookside Primary School, two each at Crossett Brook Middle School and Moretown Elementary School, one at Fayston Elementary School. A case was also reported to the central office on Friday.
Among towns neighboring Waterbury, Stowe had a record weekly number of reported cases – 137 new cases for the week ending January 5, bringing the city’s total to 549 for the pandemic. These were several times the first weekly reports recorded in December 30 and 38, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Bolton and Middlesex have also seen small increases in cases over the past week of 7 and 9 cases respectively.
City-by-city case numbers and moving averages are online on the Department of Health website in the COVID in the Communities section. Daily testing continues at the Waterbury Ambulance service station at 1727 Guptil Road. The hours are: Mon, Tue, Fri 9 am to 6 pm; The married ones. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thu, Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Boosters for 12-15 year olds
This week, federal approvals were finalized for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine for 12-15 year olds. Federal and state public health officials are emphasizing boosters to protect against the current highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus.
Many teens in this age group were vaccinated in early summer and are now eligible for the booster. New guidelines have been published regarding the timing of the recall, with the recall now recommended five months after the second shot in the series. The new five-month recall waiting period also applies to anyone 18 years of age and over who has received the Pfizer vaccine.
Appointments for free reminders are available at most drugstores (Costco, CVS, Hannaford, Kinney Drugs, Price Chopper / Market 32, Rite Aid, Shaw’s, Walgreens and Walmart). State vaccination clinics such as the Berlin shopping center offer reminders with many appointments available. To schedule at a state site if you have not used the state system for initial doses, it is recommended that you call 855-722-7878. Primary care physician offices may also provide booster injections.
No school vaccination clinic has yet been announced. More information on appointments for vaccines is online at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine.
In a note to families this week, Harwood Union COVID response coordinators Allison Conyers and Kaiya Korb urged parents to make arrangements for the additional vaccine for their teens.
“This recall not only offers greater protection against COVID-19, but is also one of the demarcations of who should be quarantined, or not, if identified as a close contact,” the note said. from school. “Getting the booster helps prevent serious illness and is a great way to help prevent disruption in learning. As with the initial vaccine, a person is not considered fully protected until 2 weeks AFTER having received his reminder. “
State launches “Tests for toddlers”
State officials this week announced a COVID-19 testing program for young children, dubbed “Tests for toddlers.”
The effort will provide rapid antigen testing kits to regulated child care providers who must enroll in the program. The tests are intended to be used in the same way as in K-12 schools when a student or staff member tests positive and close contacts should be quarantined and tested.
The program will provide home testing for children ages 2 to 5 as well as child care program staff. The tests are not approved for use in children under 2 years of age.
More information for suppliers is online on the status Child Development Division website.
State officials said they will continue to monitor the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and explore other rapid testing options that may become available for wider use in child care programs. children.
“As we gain access to a larger supply, expanding our efforts to support more families and children is an important priority,” Gov. Phil Scott said in announcing the effort.
Government pilot program to mail home testing kits
New measures were announced this week to bring Vermonters closer to receiving free home antigen test kits in the mail.
The governor’s office announced that Vermont will work with the National Institutes of Health on a pilot program to deploy a new national system for ordering home test kits online that will be delivered by courier. The pilot program has 500,000 rapid tests allocated to Vermont, Scott said.
The announcement indicates that this program is similar to what President Joe Biden announced recently, but that it is separate from the national effort which is expected to be in place later this month.
“Rapid tests are an important tool, but Americans need to be able to obtain them easily, quickly and at a much more affordable price,” Governor Scott said. “In the near future, we expect rapid tests to be readily available at all local pharmacies at lower prices. But we need to bridge the gap between where we are today and where things will be in the months to come. That’s why we’re partnering with the National Institutes of Health team to get these 500,000 tests to homes in Vermont and “test” the effectiveness of this delivery model. ”
Scott cautioned that this initial effort has a limited supply and is considered a trial program.
“As with every new program there are going to be unforeseen challenges, the number of kits that each household can order will be limited, it could take up to a week for them to be delivered, and we expect that. they go very, very quickly, ”he said.
This effort is also not intended to replace rapid testing efforts in Test to Stay programs used in schools and daycares.
The initiative is a partnership with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, test maker Quidel, and health technology company CareEvolution.
In order to receive the tests by mail, Vermonters will need to provide their name and address. The state will announce additional details on how to order next week.
School update: home antigen testing, contact tracing changes
Harwood Unified Union School District officials this week released a number of COVID-19 school protocol updates, all of which are listed on the home page of the district’s website at HUUSD.org.
Among the announcements were:
Schools have also received a supply of rapid home test kits for students and staff in Kindergarten to Grade 12 who have tested positive or who have been identified as close contacts, are in isolation or quarantine, and must take a test before returning to school. There will be an additional pickup hour on Sunday, January 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Harwood Union Middle and High School for members of this group to get pre-school testing on Monday.
More advice is expected from the National Education Agency on testing and contact tracing next week. Late Friday Seven Days reported that the agency will recommend ending contact tracing and surveillance testing and relying instead on rapid tests that students and staff do at home.
For sports enthusiasts
The school district announced several changes to its policy for home sporting events this week. Earlier this week, he said no spectators would be allowed from January 5. But this was later changed to indicate that school officials were working on a plan to allow limited participation to family members of student athletes.
As of Monday, according to the latest announcement, student-athletes will receive four tickets per game or competition for their family members to use.
Harwood sporting director Chris Langevin said on Friday details were still being worked out and more specific communication would be made in a few days. He was able to clarify that the tickets will be mainly for family (grandparents, parents, siblings, etc.), not for friends. He said it had not yet been determined whether the rule would apply to indoor and outdoor events.
Langevin reminds fans that some high school sporting events are available through live streaming services.
College junior and varsity home basketball games are broadcast live on the NFHS Network ($ 10.99 / month). College hockey games are streamed live on LiveBarn ($ 18.95 / mo, and the Ice Center has a 10% off code on their website). Mad River TV is also trying to outfit some home games for occasional coverage.
Langevin said that given the circumstances, he considers allowing spectators on a limited basis to be a privilege. “The reasoning for limiting fans is that there is room for people to space out more,” he explained. “So when you come to the games, don’t forget to put on a mask, find space for your family, cheer, be positive and become Highlanders!” “