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Latest local updates on COVID-19

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2o22

10,083 new COVID cases reported between Jan. 6 and 11

BURLINGTON — The Vermont Department of Health said Wednesday that it has made updates to its case dashboard and now reports that there were 10,083 new cases between Jan. 6 and Jan. 11.

The department said issues with lab reporting during that time period affected roughly 40,000 lab results, and they have revised the case counts for that time frame. According to the revised data, there were 1,898 new cases on Jan. 6, 2,975 new cases on Jan. 7, 2,357 new cases on Jan. 8, 1,061 new cases on Jan. 9, 939 new cases on Jan. 10, and 813 new cases on Jan. 11.

According to the Health Department, there are now 81,987 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Vermont since March 2020, including 4,399 people in Windham County. The death toll in Vermont rose to 490, with seven new deaths reported since late last week.

Chittenden County leads the state with 19,659 cumulative cases and 140 deaths. It has seen 3,507 new cases for the 14-day period between Dec. 29 and Jan. 11.

Rutland County reports 8,572 cases and 42 deaths, with 1,113 new cases coming in the last 14 days, while Washington County reports 6,308 cases and 37 deaths, with 1,112 new cases in the last 14 days. Franklin County reports 6,335 cases and 57 deaths, with 1,085 new cases in the last 14 days, while Windsor County reports 5,697 cases and 46 deaths, with 702 cases in the last 14 days.

Windham County reports 4,399 cases and a total of 31 deaths. It has had 710 new cases in the last 14 days, while Bennington County reports 6,626 cases and 47 deaths, with 1,184 new cases over the last 14 days.

According to the Health Department, as of Wednesday morning, there are 85 patients in Vermont hospitalized with COVID-19 with 27 patients in intensive care. The seven-day test positivity rate declined t0 13 percent as 4,907 people were tested for the virus on Jan. 9.

The by-town count of cumulative cases, as of Jan. 5, of Vermonters who have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020 showed a total of 1,124 identified lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Brattleboro as of that date, an increase of 124 cases over the previous seven days, while Rockingham saw an increase in cases to 556 to 579.

As of Jan. 6, Wilmington reports 252 cumulative cases, Putney reports 250 cases, and Vernon reports 224 cases. Londonderry reports 208 cases, and Dover reports 191 cases. Whitingham reports 148 cases, Westminster reports 122 cases, Newfane reports 110 cases, and Townshend reports 91 cases.

Guilford reports 72 cases, Wardsboro reports 66 cases, and Dummerston reports 63 cases. Grafton reports 52 cases, Halifax reports 50 cases, Jamaica reports 47 cases, Marlboro reports 40 cases. Athens reports 26 cases, Stratton reports 20 cases, Brookline reports 14 cases, and Windham reports 11 cases.

See all the Health Department’s data and guidance on COVID-19 at healthvermont.gov/covid-19.

Vaccine clinics offered around southern Vermont

BURLINGTON — The Vermont Department of Health says that there are plenty of chances in the coming days to get vaccinated or receive booster shots, with free vaccine clinics for Vermonters age 5 and up continuing around the state.

Walk-in clinics are being offered Jan. 13 at Kurn Hattin Homes in Westminster from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jan. 14 at the Bellows Falls Fire Department from 3 to 5 p.m., and Jan. 15 at Brattleboro Union High School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as at Stratton Mountain Resort from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital will have Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna vaccines by appointment for those 12-and-older on Jan. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 18, from 9 a.m. to 12:35 a.m.

Other pop-up clinics that require appointments include Jan. 14 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Jan. 18 at the VFW in Brattleboro from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and to make an appointment, visit healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine, call 855-722-7878 if you need assistance, watch the @healthvermont social media feeds, or check healthvermont.gov. If you have not previously been vaccinated through the state registration system, need assistance, or speak a language other than English, call 855-722-7878.

Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Vermont to end most of its contact tracing for COVID-19

BURLINGTON — Vermont Health Commission Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading so quickly that general contact tracing is no longer effective, and will scale back contact tracing only for people at higher risk.

This policy, as it applies to schools, now shifts the emphasis to testing, rather than contact tracing. Rapid antigen tests will be distributed to parents starting this week, according to health officials.

The Health Department says that it’s now up to individuals who have tested positive to alert people they have been in close contact with — defined as being within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or more — and to isolate themselves from others.

Contact tracing will continue for high-risk populations, such as long-term-care facilities and shelters. For more information on the new policies, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/symptoms-sickness/what-do-if-you-test-positive-covid-19.

The Health Department recommends testing for people who have symptoms of COVID-19, have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or have recently attended an event with people who are not in their usual social circle.

COVID-19 symptoms can include fever (100.4 F or higher), coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

Vermont launches ‘Test for Tots’ program for child care providers

MONTPELIER — The state is launching what it calls the “Tests for Tots” program, which will provide rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits to regulated child care providers across Vermont. These child care providers can enroll in the program effective immediately.

This program builds on the success of the “Test to Stay” program, which is being used in Vermont’s K-12 schools, saving thousands of in-person instruction days for students. This initiative expands the efforts to child care providers, allowing them to test children and staff when a positive COVID-19 case is detected at their program.

Tests for Tots will offer tests for children between the ages of 2 and 5, as well as for child care program staff. They can be administered at home. The tests are limited to children over the age of 2, consistent with their emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022

Vermont adopts new booster shot guidelines for 12- to 15-year olds

MONTPELIER — Vermont has now opened registration for COVID-19 booster shots for children 12 to 15 years old, following approval by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky late Wednesday night.

This age group can receive their Pfizer booster as early as five months after their second Pfizer dose. Children ages 16 and 17 have already been eligible for a Pfizer booster but can now also get their booster shot as soon as five months after the second dose.

The new five month wait time for a booster shot also applies to anyone 18 and older who received the Pfizer vaccine. They can get a Pfizer or Moderna booster.

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022

Vermont Everyone Eats program extended through April 1

WESTMINSTER — Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE), the innovative COVID-19 response program that provides meal assistance to Vermonters while supporting local restaurants, farmers, and food producers, has received an extension to continue through April 1, 2022.

This additional extension, following three before it, is made possible thanks to the continued commitment from FEMA to cover 100 percent of the program’s costs.

Vermont Everyone Eats provides nutritious meals to Vermonters in need of food assistance as well as a stabilizing source of income for Vermont restaurants, farmers, and food producers. The program is currently operated by 11 community hubs throughout the state, including a statewide online digital app.

If you are looking for an Everyone Eats meal in Windham County, here are the places individuals can pick up directly: Retreat Farm farmstand on Route 30 in Brattleboro: Tuesdays and Thursdays after 5 p.m.; Winston Prouty Center in Brattleboro, Wednesdays at 3 p.m.; through an organization such as the Brattleboro Boys & Girls Club, Foodworks, or Dummerston Cares; or using the Localvore App (everyoneeatsvt.com) to order Everyone Eats meals directly from participating restaurants using the App.

For more information about Vermont Everyone Eats, visit www.vteveryoneeats.org or explore community posts at #vteveryoneeats.

Many food resources available for those in need

BRATTLEBORO — Local organizers say that anyone struggling to access healthy and nutritious is encouraged to look into these resources in Windham County:

• Brigid’s Kitchen, St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut St., Brattleboro, 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072. They offer grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

• Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church 193 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-254-4730. Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at noon.

• Vermont Foodbank’s Veggie Van Go will be at Brattleboro Union High School on Fairground Road, in the parking lot, on the first and third Monday of the month, from 10 to 11 a.m. Drive-up, touchless pick-up, but walkers welcome, too. Call Vermont 2-1-1 for more information.

• Foodworks, the food shelf program of the Groundworks Collaborative, groundworksvt.org, 802-490-2412, or ccolascione@GroundworksVT.org. Curbside pickup Mondays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays. 1 to 6 p.m., and the last Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

• Our Place Drop-In Center, 4 Island St., Bellows Falls, 802-463-2217. Our Place’s food shelf is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Our Place serves free breakfast and lunch to the community Mondays through Fridays (closed Saturdays and Sundays). Due to COVID-19, they currently package meals and provide them through the window in the front of our building. Our Place also helps people navigate social services, such as applying for SNAP (food stamps), WIC, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Medicaid.

• Guilford Food Pantry, Every Thursday from 3-4 p.m. at the Guilford Fairgrounds, 163 Fairground Rd. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, and products.

• Putney Food Shelf, Putney Community Center, 10 Christian Square, 802-387-8551. www.putneyfoodshelf.org. Curbside pickup on Saturdays, 9 to 11 a.m.

• Townshend Community Food Shelf, Townshend Congregational Church on the Common, 802-365-4348. Open Mondays, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

• Deerfield Valley Food Pantry has its food distribution on the third week of the month, Thursdays, from 1 to 3 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 to 11 a.m. Delivery will be made directly to vehicles. For more information, call the Food Pantry and leave a message at 802-464-0148.

• Jamaica-Wardsboro Community Food Shelf, 802-896-6178. Distributions will take place on Jan. 26, Feb. 23, and March 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Wardsboro Vestry.

• Vernon Advent Christian Church Bread of Life Food Pantry, 802-257-2341. Open on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Masks are required, along with social distancing. The food pantry is housed at the church, 4554 Fort Bridgman Rd., Vernon.

If you are looking for additional food resources:

• 3SquaresVT: Shop at a grocery store or online when you want, for the food you want. Visit www.hungerfreevt.org/how-do-i-apply to find out more and for application assistance, or call 2-1-1, or text VFBSNAP to 855-11.

• WIC: Healthy food and support for you if you are pregnant or a parent or caregiver for a child under the age of 5. Call 2-1-1 or text VTWIC to 855-11.

• If you are age 60 or older, call 800-642-5119 to get personal assistance with 3SquaresVT, getting meals delivered free to you at home, and more. Call 2-1-1 or visit the USDA Meal Finder at www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids to find their nearest location for meals for children 18 and under.

• The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a federal nutrition program which offers free monthly nutrition information and nutritious foods to income-eligible older adults. Learn more at vtfoodbank.org/csfp.

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