VDH: COVID cases and hospitalizations fall, now rated 'low'

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VDH: COVID cases and hospitalizations fall, now rated 'low'

Fri, 11/04/2022 - 5:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported November 2 that hospitalizations decreased from 76 to 47 last week, as overall COVID-19 cases fell from 585 to 532. COVID-19 infections are back down to a "Low" level, according to the VDH, after increasing hospitalizations had sent them to "Medium" the last few weeks (from a low of 30). 

There were 9 more COVID-related deaths since last week's report, for 25 in October and a pandemic total of 754 (the VDH report could be updated as more data becomes available). There were 19 COVID-related fatalities in August, and 11 in September. Vermont has the lowest COVID fatality rate in the nation, at 118 per 100,000 population.

There were 12 deaths from COVID in Vermont in both June and July. During July 2021, there were only 2 deaths. The Delta variant then took off in August 2021.

The new Omicron bivalent boosters are available now through state walk-in clinics and some pharmacies.

As of this report, there were a total of 13 outbreaks, with 5 in the school/childcare segment and 4 in long-term care facilities. 

Vermonters are reminded that all state COVID testing sites were closed as of June 25. PCR and take-home tests are available through doctors' offices, pharmacies and via mail from the federal government. Take home tests are also available at the state walk-in booster clinics. See more information BELOW or here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing

Report Timeframe: October 23 to October 29, 2022

Statewide community levels: Low. For this seven-day reporting period, the rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Vermonters is below 200. New COVID-19 admissions are below 10 per 100,000 Vermonters per day, and the percent of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 is below 10%.
• New COVID-19 cases, last 7 days: 85.26 per 100k (95.35 per 100k last week)
o Weekly case count: 532 (decrease from previous week, 595)
• New hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19, last 7 days: 7.53 per 100K (12.18 per 100K last week)
o 47 total new admissions with COVID-19 (decrease from previous week, 76)
• Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 (7-day average): 6.04% (increase from previous week, 5.86%)

Current Surveillance Report Summary:

Vermont's COVID-19 Community Level is LOW.

The following COVID-19 Community Level indicators are in the LOW range:

  • Rate of COVID-19 cases
  • Rate of COVID-19 among people being admitted to the hospital
  • Percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients

The volume of people going to emergency departments due to COVID-like symptoms is similar to the same time of year in 2021.

Outbreaks and situations of concern in long-term care, corrections, and health facilities remains significantly lower than in May 2022.

There is nothing of immediate concern in Vermont's wastewater data, which tends to show weekly variation but overall remains significantly lower than the Spring of 2022.

Vermont Department of Health recommendations: Protect Yourself & Others

CDC recommendations: COVID-19 by County | CDC

Vermont has the lowest fatality rate in the US (118 per 100K), recently surpassing Hawaii (120/100K). Mississippi (436/100K) and Arizona (433/100K) are the highest. There has been a total of 1,097,881 COVID-related deaths to date in the US and 6,597,538 globally.

There were 49 COVID-19 related fatalities in Vermont in September 2021, and 47 deaths in October 2021, which are the fifth- and sixth-worst months on record. There were 42 fatalities in November, 62 in December, and 65 in January 2022, 59 in February, 17 in March, 19 in April and 32 in May, as fatalities rose early in the month before falling off. There were 12 deaths in June and 12 in July. There were 19 COVID-related fatalities in August. 

The Delta variant caused a surge in COVID-related fatalities last fall and into the winter. More than half of all deaths overall have been of Vermonters 80 or over.

While the highest concentration of deaths was from September 2021 through February 2022, December 2020 was the worst month with 71.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, has said the BA.5, BA.6 and their variants are highly transmissible and have caused an uptick in cases and hospitalizations across the nation; the Northeast has seen the smallest increase.

The state has set up walk-in clinics for the new, reconfigured vaccines and boosters. They are open now. See list HERE. The CDC gave approval to the new Omicron vaccines on August 31. The highly infectious, though less dangerous, BA.4 and BA.5 variants have become dominant this year, though new subvariants of those variants are beginning to appear.

Dr Levine has said he is not quite willing to say the pandemic is over, especially with fall's arrival and the flu season coming. Last fall saw a vast increase in cases and deaths after a quiet summer. President Biden had suggested last week that the pandemic was over.

Dr Levine believes that vaccines for the COVID virus would likely be an annual event, similar to how there is an annual flu shot that is configured for the particular active strains. He is also expecting an active flu season.

The updated booster is for people 12 and older who have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series and received their last booster or additional 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 some pharmacies across the state beginning this week. Contact pharmacies directly for details on available products and scheduling. 

On October 12, the FDA authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots for children as young as 5.

1 All Vermont hospitals and two urgent care clinics are included in ESSENCE.

 

TESTING

report self-test results

How to get tested in Vermont

At-home antigen tests (also called rapid tests or self-tests) meet many testing needs and are widely available at pharmacies around the state and at online retailers.

  • Buy online or in pharmacies and retail stores: Some health insurance plans can cover the cost of at-home tests. 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 home in the U.S. can order a third round of FREE at-home tests mailed directly to them. Order free tests at COVID.gov
  • Contact your health care provider: Medical practices may offer other COVID-19 testing options.

HELP Getting Tests

If you cannot get at-home antigen tests from the options above, you can call the Health Department at 802-863-7200, or check with your local health office.

Non-profit community organizations may qualify for free at-home tests by mail if they work with Vermonters who may have difficulty getting tests due to overall systemic inequities. This includes Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC), speak languages other than English, are experiencing homelessness, have a disability or other groups. Please email [email protected].

Food shelves, libraries, and municipal offices who are interested in distributing COVID-19 at-home tests in their community can also email [email protected].

If you are homebound, you can get a PCR test in your home. Homebound means you are not able to 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 (Arabic) | မြန်မာစာ (Burmese) دری (Dari) | English | Français (French) | Kirundi | Maay Maay | 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 information below for new dates by brand:

FDA information on tests.
Check Intrivo on/go tests.
Check iHealth tests.
Check FlowFlex tests.

When to get Tested

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 ─ even if the symptoms are mild, and even if you previously had COVID-19. 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 not up to date on your vaccines. Learn more about when close contacts should get tested.

If you test positive and you are age 65 or older or have a medical condition that may put you at risk, reach out to your health care provider to ask about treatment — as soon as you get a positive test resultLearn more about treatment.

Find tips and learn more from the CDC about self-testing

Learn about Test Types

At-home antigen test 

  • Is approved for ages 2 and older.
  • Best when two tests are taken at least 24 hours apart.
  • Should be used if you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Other test types, such as PCR, could continue to give a positive result because of your previous infection.

PCR test 

  • Is approved for all ages, including under 2 years.
  • May be available through your physician's office.

Test instructions and translations

Report Your Results

If there is no option to automatically report your self-test result, please report results (positive or negative) to the Health Department using our online form. Your response is confidential, and reporting your test result helps the Health Department understand how many Vermonters are being tested for COVID-19 and how the virus is spreading in our communities.

Report your COVID-19 test results