Every Vermont county besides Essex and Windham has “high” Covid-19 community levels, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late Thursday.
The counties in the CDC’s “high” category account for about 92% of the state’s population, including Vermont’s most populous county, Chittenden. This week’s data includes five counties that are newly rated as high: Caledonia, Lamoille, Orange, Rutland and Windsor.
The CDC recommends that people in high-level counties take broad public actions to reduce transmission, including wearing a mask in indoor public spaces. In medium-level counties, high-risk people should consider taking additional precautions.
The agency also recommends that people in counties at any level get tested when they are symptomatic and stay up to date on their Covid vaccines.
The CDC ratings are based on three metrics: recent Covid case counts, new hospital admissions for Covid and the community’s overall hospital capacity.
Covid cases in Vermont have risen about 18% in the past two weeks, and state officials have said they believe the recent increase in cases appears to be “leveling off.”
But at the same time, hospital admissions for Covid-positive patients have increased in the past two weeks, going from about 12 per day to almost 20 per day on average, according to the CDC. State data shows that the number of intensive care patients with Covid has also risen.
Data from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation shows that, as of Tuesday, the number of hospital beds available in the state had declined from an average of more than 100 beds in early April to about 40 to 50 beds at the beginning of May.
On Friday, the city of Burlington released the latest week of data on Covid levels in wastewater samples from three treatment plants. The results showed that viral levels were about the same as those reported by the plants about two weeks earlier.
All three plants continue to report higher Covid levels than they did prior to early March, when the BA.2 subvariant became the dominant Covid strain.
Vermont reported 386 new Covid-19 cases, 64 hospitalizations and no additional deaths Friday.
The state’s seven-day average for new reported infections is 325, down from 332 on Thursday, according to the Vermont Department of Health dashboard.
Vermont’s seven-day average test positivity rate was 13.4% Friday, up from 13.3% on Thursday. (The test positivity rate includes only PCR tests, not at-home antigen tests.)
The health department reported that 64 people were hospitalized with Covid as of Friday, up from 56 on Thursday. That includes 14 people in intensive care, down from 16 on Thursday.
The health department reported no additional Covid deaths on Friday. In total, 642 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic, including 19 in April and two so far in May.
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