Vermont reporters are providing a summary of key takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Wednesday, June 9.
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The latest data on the coronavirus:
1. Vermont reports 5 new cases of COVID-19, within inches of the 80% vaccination target
Health officials on Wednesday reported five new COVID-19 infections in Vermont.
Three were in Windsor County, which has seen more new cases in the past two weeks than any other area in the state.
A person is hospitalized in intensive care because of the virus.
The state has also moved closer to its goal of getting 80% of Vermonters eligible to begin COVID-19 vaccinations.
Currently, 79.6% of Vermonters have been at least partially vaccinated, an increase of 0.2%.
– Matthew Smith
Vermont case count hits lowest in months
The number of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reached its lowest level in eight months.
Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak said 61 Vermonters have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past seven days.
“And since our new case spike on April 1, our seven-day case average has dropped 94%, and we’ve fallen another 17% over the past week,” Pieciak said Tuesday.
Pieciak says new cases are on the decline even as cellphone data shows Vermonters is moving the state to pre-pandemic levels.
And he says high vaccination rates in Vermont prevent transmission of the virus.
– Peter Hirschfeld
Hospitalizations on the decline
As the number of COVID-19 cases declines in Vermont, the number of Vermonters hospitalized with the disease is also declining.
Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak said the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has fallen by more than 50% in the past two weeks.
“In fact, this week we frequently reported zero patients in our intensive care units across the state – the first time we’ve seen so few people needing intensive care in almost eight months,” Pieciak said. .
He says modeling suggests hospitalizations will continue to decline as summer progresses.
Vermont has reported one COVID-related death in the past three weeks.
– Peter Hirschfeld
2. The Vermont Department of Health runs hundreds of walk-in immunization clinics
The Vermont Department of Health has hosted hundreds of pop-up vaccination clinics in recent weeks.
But Social Services Secretary Mike Smith said Vermonters can also get their COVID-19 vaccines at more permanent walk-in clinics across the state, “including CVS, Hannaford Food and Drugs, Wal-Mart. , Walgreens, Price Chopper Market 32, RiteAid, Shaw’s Market, Costco or UVMMC pharmacies, ”Smith said.
Gov. Phil Scott says he will lift all public health orders related to COVID when 80% of eligible Vermonters are at least partially vaccinated.
Health Commissioner Dr Mark Levine is trying to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates among 12 to 15 year olds in Vermont.
Levine says vaccination rates in this age group are well below the state average.
But he says new data from the Centers for Disease Control shows young people can experience severe symptoms as a result of contracting COVID-19.
“Of the adolescents hospitalized, almost a third required admission to an intensive care unit and 5% required a ventilator,” Levine said.
Levine says parental worry likely contributes to the relatively low vaccination rates among 12 to 15 year olds.
He says reluctant parents should speak to their doctors for more information on the vaccine.
Get a COVID-19 vaccine at a Vermont state park this weekend
The Natural Resources Agency is waiving entrance fees to Vermont state parks this weekend.
And Social Services Secretary Mike Smith hopes to use the promotion to increase the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rate.
“We will have vaccination teams in many state parks to offer COVID-19 vaccines. We’ll be back at Jazz Fest this weekend as well, ”said Smith.
Governor, White House worried about vaccine misinformation
Gov. Phil Scott said members of the White House COVID-19 task force fear internet misinformation is fueling reluctance over vaccines.
Scott says task force members voiced these concerns during a conference call with governors on Tuesday.
Scott had his own message for Vermonters who have concerns about the vaccine.
“Consider contacting your trusted family doctor and asking these questions because vaccines are safe,” Scott said. “And if you read something on Facebook that you haven’t seen anywhere else, it probably isn’t true.”
Nearly 80% of Vermonters have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
But the state has seen a sharp drop in recent weeks in the number of new people vaccinated against the disease.
– Peter Hirschfeld
3. Memorial Day weekend promises a return to tourism in Vermont
The Scott administration said visitor traffic over Memorial Day weekend suggests Vermont’s tourism industry is rebounding.
Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak said hotel stays over the holiday weekend were up almost 300 from last year.
Pieciak says tourist traffic is still down from pre-pandemic levels.
“This should certainly be an encouraging sign for the summer tourist season, however,” he said.
Governor Phil Scott says he will lift all COVID-related travel restrictions when 80% of eligible Vermonters have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He says Vermont could hit that benchmark as early as this week.
– Peter Hirschfeld
4. The Vermont congressional delegation calls the president. Biden prioritizes reopening Canadian border
The Vermont congressional delegation calls on the Biden administration to step up efforts to reopen the US-Canada border.
Congressman Peter Welch and Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday.
The delegation called on Biden to initiate talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and relax restrictions on travel between the two countries.
Other northern border politicians, including New York Representative Elise Stefanik, have called for the border to be reopened. Stefanik, in a press release, said the United States would have to unilaterally ease restrictions if a joint reopening plan was not established this month.
The Canada-U.S. Border has been closed for over a year due to the pandemic.
CTV News reports that Prime Minister Trudeau recently indicated that he will not ease travel restrictions until 75% of Canadians are vaccinated. Currently, 63% of the Canadian population have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
– Liam Elder-Connors
5. Bidders rejected in Koffee Kup / Vermont Bread sale consider legal action
Gov. Phil Scott says he’s been taken aback by the news that the old Koffee Kup bakery will be sold to a Georgia-based food maker that has no plans to continue operating in Vermont.
A court-appointed receiver for Koffee Kup accepted an undisclosed offer for the Koffee Kup brand and assets from a company called Flowers Foods.
While the deal may put the Burlington and Brattleboro manufacturing plants on hold, Scott says there isn’t much that Vermont can do to intervene.
“It’s their obligation to get the best deal possible to take care of those who are in line for some of the debt obligations,” Scott said.
A Canadian company had previously offered to buy the company and continue operations in Vermont.
250 people lost their jobs when Koffee Kup unexpectedly closed at the end of April.
New Brunswick company considers lawsuit over bid rejection
Two other bakery companies vying to buy the brand and its Vermont bakeries could challenge the sale.
Flowers Foods bought the assets of Koffee Kup after submitting a late bid last week.
Now VTDigger New Brunswick-based Ms Dunster’s said she was considering a lawsuit after her offer was rejected at the last minute. Another repulsed buyer, Massachusetts-based East Baking Company, said it also plans to challenge the sale.
A spokesperson for East Baking Company said VTDigger he’s investigating whether the sale to Flowers Foods violates federal antitrust rules.
– Peter Hirschfeld and Matthew Smith
6. Vermont Prison Visits May Resume Next Month
The Vermont Department of Corrections hopes to resume in-person visits with incarcerated people by next month.
Visits have been suspended for over a year due to the pandemic.
Acting DOC commissioner Jim Baker said the ministry hopes to allow families to see their loved ones incarcerated by July.
“After that, we want to bring volunteers back into the facility, the religious community, other volunteers, AA and so on, into the facility,” Baker said.
Baker says DOC may require a COVID-19 vaccine for visitors and incarcerated people who wish to meet with family or outside groups.
Read the full story.
– Liam Elder-Connors
7. The Ministère de la Sécurité publique issues an opinion on water safety
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling issued a water safety advisory on Tuesday after a whitewater rescue in the Huntington Gorge over the weekend.
Schirling says first responders rescued two women who had been swept away by a strong current in the Huntington River on Sunday.
He said the incident underlines the importance of never swimming alone.
“Whether you are in a lake, river, pool or pond, even if you are an expert swimmer, there is always the potential for something unforeseen to happen,” said Schirling.
Schirling says people looking to cool off during the summer heat should be aware of underwater depth, currents and dangers before entering any body of water.
He says people should also not go swimming if they have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs.
– Peter Hirschfeld
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