VDH: More COVID deaths, but hospitalizations increase slightly
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported on November 16 that hospitalizations rose from 47 to 53 last week, as the total number of COVID-19 cases fell from 442 to 385. COVID-19 infections remain at a “low” level for the fourth week, according to the VDH, after increasing hospitalizations, had sent them to “medium” a few weeks ago (from a low of 30).
There have been zero COVID-related deaths in nearly two weeks, down from 4 so far in November and a pandemic total of 763 (VDH report may be updated as more data becomes available). There were 19 COVID-related deaths in August, 11 in September and 30 in October. Vermont has the second-lowest COVID death rate in the country, at 122 per 100,000 people.
There were 12 COVID deaths in Vermont in June and July. In July 2021, there were only 2 deaths. The Delta variant then took off in August 2021.
The new Omicron bivalent boosters are available now via state walk-in clinics and some pharmacies.
As of the date of this report, there have been a total of 5 outbreaks (13 in the previous report), with all 5 in the school/childcare segment. That’s less than half of previous reports this fall.
Vermonters are reminded that all COVID testing sites in the state have been closed beginning June 25. PCR and take-out tests are available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and through federal government mail. Home testing is also available at walk-in booster clinics across the state. See more information BELOW or here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing
Reporting period: November 6 to November 12, 2022
Statewide Community Levels: Low. For this seven-day reporting period, the rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Vermonters is less than 200. New COVID-19 admissions are less than 10 per 100,000 Vermonters per day, and the percentage of beds hospitals occupied by COVID-19 is less than 10%.
• New cases of COVID-19, last 7 days: 61.70 per 100,000 (70.83 per 100,000 last week)
o Number of weekly cases: 385 (decrease compared to the previous week, 442)
• New hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19, last 7 days: 8.49 per 100,000 (6.09 per 100,000 last week)
o 53 total new admissions with COVID-19 (increase from previous week, 38)
• Percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 (7-day average): 3.55% (increase from previous week, 4.25%)
Summary of current monitoring report:
Vermont’s COVID-19 Community Level is DOWN.
The following community-level COVID-19 indicators are in DOWN interval:
- Rate of COVID-19 cases
- Rate of COVID-19 among people admitted to hospital
- Percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients
The volume of people going to emergency departments with COVID-like symptoms is similar to the same time of year in 2021.
Outbreaks and situations of concern in long-term care facilities, corrections and health facilities remain significantly lower than in May 2022.
There’s nothing of immediate concern in Vermont’s wastewater data, which tends to show weekly variations but remains significantly lower overall than spring 2022.
Recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health: Protect yourself and others
CDC Recommendations: COVID-19 by county | CDC
Vermont has the second-lowest death rate in the United States (122 per 100,000), behind Hawaii (121/100,000). Mississippi (436/100K) and Arkansas (433/100K) are the highest. There have been a total of 1,102,809 COVID-related deaths so far in the United States and 6,599,100 worldwide, according to the WHO.
There were 49 COVID-19 related deaths in Vermont in September 2021 and 47 deaths in October 2021, which are the fifth and sixth worst months on record. There were 42 deaths in November, 62 in December and 65 in January 2022, 59 in February, 17 in March, 19 in April and 32 in May, with the number of deaths rising at the start of the month before falling. There were 12 deaths in June and 12 in July. There were 19 COVID-related deaths in August.
The Delta variant caused an increase in COVID-related deaths last fall and through the winter. More than half of all deaths overall have been Vermonters age 80 or older.
While the highest concentration of deaths was from September 2021 to February 2022, December 2020 was the worst month with 71.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said BA.5, BA.6 and their variants are highly transmissible and have caused an increase in cases and hospitalizations across the country; the Northeast saw the smallest increase.
The state has set up walk-in clinics for new vaccines and reconfigured boosters. They are open now. See the list HERE. Jhe CDC gave its approval to the new Omicron vaccines on August 31. The highly contagious, though less dangerous, BA.4 and BA.5 variants have become dominant this year, although new sub-variants of these variants are beginning to appear.
Dr. Levine said he wasn’t quite ready to say the pandemic was over, especially with the onset of fall and the upcoming flu season. Last fall saw a sharp rise in cases and deaths after a quiet summer. President Biden hinted last week that the pandemic was over.
Dr. Levine thinks the COVID virus vaccines would likely be an annual event, similar to how there is an annual flu shot set up for particular active strains. It is also expects an active flu season.
The updated booster is for people 12 years and older who have completed their first round of COVID-19 vaccines and received their last booster or extra dose at least two months ago. Look for Pfizer Bivalent Booster 12+ and Moderna Bivalent Booster 18+ in the list of walk-in clinics. Bivalent boosters are also available at select state pharmacies starting this week. Contact pharmacies directly for more details on available products and times.
On October 12, the FDA cleared updated COVID-19 booster shots for children as young as 5.
1 All Vermont hospitals and two urgent care clinics are included in ESSENCE.
How to Get Tested in Vermont
Home antigen tests (also called rapid tests or self-tests) meet many testing needs and are widely available at state pharmacies and online retailers.
- Buy online or at pharmacies and retail stores: Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of home testing. You may be able to show your insurance card at the pharmacy and get test kits at no cost to you. Some health plans may require you to pay for the tests and then be reimbursed. Learn more about insurance coverage
- Order free tests through COVID.gov: Every household in the United States can order a third set of FREE home tests mailed directly to them. Order free tests on COVID.gov
- Contact your healthcare provider: Doctors’ offices may offer other COVID-19 testing options.
HELP Get tests
If you cannot get home antigen testing from the options above, you can call the health department at 802-863-7200, or check with your local health unit.
Nonprofit community organizations may be eligible for free at-home testing by mail if they work with Vermonters who may have difficulty getting tests due to overall systemic inequalities. This includes Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, or of Color (BIPOC), speak languages other than English, are homeless, have a disability, or other groups. Please email [email protected]
Food departments, libraries, and municipal offices that want to distribute COVID-19 at-home testing in their community can also email [email protected]
If you are housebound, you can get a PCR test in your house. Homebound means you cannot leave your home for scheduled medical care or non-medical appointments. Call 802-863-7200 (toll free 800-464-4343), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Translated videos on where to get tests from the Vermont Language Justice Project: ASL | العربية (Arab) | မြန်မာစာ (Burmese) | دری (Dari) | English | French French) | Kirundi | Maai Maai | Mandarin | नेपाली (Nepali) | پښتو (Pashto) | Soomaai (Somali) | Español (Spanish) | Kiswahili (Swahili) | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
TEST KIT EXPIRATION DATES
Many test expiration dates have been extended. Check the information below for the new dates by brand:
When to get tested
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 ─ even if the symptoms are mild, and even if you have had COVID-19 before. Test as soon as possible.
- If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not vaccinated or are not up to date with your vaccinations. Learn more about when close contacts should be tested.
If you test positive and you are 65 or older or have a medical condition that can put you at riskcontact your health care provider to inquire about treatment — as soon as you get a positive test result. Learn more about the treatment.
Home antigen test
- Is approved for children 2 years and older.
- Best when two tests are performed at least 24 hours apart.
- Must be used if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days. Other types of tests, such as PCR, may continue to give a positive result due to your previous infection.
- Is approved for all ages, including children under 2 years old.
- May be available through your doctor’s office.
Test instructions and translations
Report your results
If there is no option to automatically report your self-test result, please report the results (positive or negative) to the Department of Health using our online form. Your response is confidential, and reporting your test result helps the Department of Health understand how many Vermonters are being tested for COVID-19 and how the virus is spreading in our communities.