In the News
How big a threat are breakthrough cases in Vermont?

Are concerns about breakthrough COVID cases contributing to vaccine hesitancy in Vermont? While the state is leading the nation in vaccinations, the small number of breakthrough cases that are reported are causing concerns about just how effective the shots are.

Across Vermont, many are choosing to mask back up indoors over concerns of the delta variant, even if they are fully vaccinated. “I’m vaccinated. There is still that risk and that possibility that I could get COVID,” said Matthew Emerson, a visitor from North Carolina.

Olivia Gaudreault and Elie Pommier are pharmacy students from Maryland and have been on the front lines of administering doses. They’ve noticed some are skipping the shot because they’ve heard people can test positive either way. “I think it’s disappointing -- those who thought the vaccine was going to be it and life would return to normal, and now we’re having the new cases of the delta variant come through,” Gaudreault said.
Three Vermont counties show 'high' Covid transmission as cases reach 3-month record

Chittenden, Franklin and Orleans counties now show “high” levels of Covid transmission, the strongest category in a rubric from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Sunday, the CDC also reports “substantial” transmission in Bennington, Essex and Washington counties. The federal health agency recommends universal indoor masking in counties with “high” or “substantial” spread.

Data from the Vermont Department of Health shows cases rising statewide. The state reported 89 new cases on Monday, as well as 47 cases on Sunday and 112 cases on Saturday, the highest one-day count since April 29.
The state reported two new deaths from Covid-19 on Monday.
New England's Hospital Heads Issue Plea For Blood Donations

Heads of the hospital associations in the six New England states, representing hundreds of hospitals and health care organizations, are teaming up to draw attention to what they describe as severe blood shortages facing providers.

Steve Walsh of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Steven Michaud of the Maine Hospital Association, Teresa Paiva Weed Hospital Association of Rhode Island, Jeff Tieman of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Jennifer Jackson of the Connecticut Hospital Association and Steve Ahnen of the New Hampshire Hospital Association jointly recorded a video encouraging people to donate blood to help hospitals perform life-saving procedures, treat emergency room patients with traumatic injuries, and otherwise care for some of their sickest and most vulnerable populations.
Scott Will Require Some State Employees to Get COVID-19 Vaccinations
Seven Days

Gov. Phil Scott lauded local colleges, universities and medical centers for requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees and said the state will take a similar approach with some of its workers.

Scott said he believes that all hospitals, long-term care facilities and other places that serve high-risk populations should require vaccinations for workers. During his weekly press conference, he said vaccinations will be required for staff of the Vermont Veterans’ Home, Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital and the six state prisons. A potential testing alternative may be offered.

“We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable under our care,” Scott said, adding the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant was a key factor in his decision. "We just think it's a good idea considering what we're seeing across the country."
Why vaccination data for infected Vermonters is hard to come by

With another Covid-19 surge in full swing, Vermonters have continued to raise concerns about breakthrough infections: cases among fully vaccinated people. But data on the vaccination status of people who have caught the virus remains hard to come by.

Readers have repeatedly asked VTDigger to report the vaccination status of daily new cases and hospitalizations, as well as more details on active outbreaks. 

But the state has not made those data points public on a frequent basis. Limited statistics about breakthrough infections and outbreaks are currently published by the health department every two weeks, while analyses by the Department of Financial Regulation are made public at Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference every Tuesday. 

Vermont providers welcome new CDC vaccine guidance for pregnant women
ABC News10

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging pregnant people to roll up their sleeves as the nation sees more unvaccinated mothers-to-be infected with COVID.

The agency previously said the vaccine was safe for expectant mothers who chose to get the shot. But on Wednesday, the CDC began recommending it for people who are pregnant or might become pregnant.

The agency says pregnant people are at a greater risk for severe illness that requires hospitalization and the use of a ventilator. The risk from the delta variant increases for the unvaccinated.
Vermont legal expert weighs in on employers requiring vaccines
My Champlain Valley

This week, Governor Phil Scott urged Vermont businesses to consider a vaccine mandate for employees in an effort to curb the spread of the Delta variant, but some might be wondering whether there’s any legal ramifications that could result from instituting one.

In many cases, employees have the option to go with frequent COVID-19 testing instead, but other than that, Vermont Law School Professor Jared Carter said employees will largely have to comply.

“If an employer, a private business, says to protect the health of our business we want to require vaccines and made that their policy, if someone doesn’t want to comply with that, there’s no question they could be fired,” Carter said.
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