MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont officials estimate the COVID-19 vaccination program in the state has saved 78 lives since the vaccines arrived late last year.
Despite a recent spike in the number of new cases of COVID-19, the number of new infections in the elderly — the people most vulnerable to the virus — are continuing to go down.
The state says that 86.9% of people over age 75 have been vaccinated. As of Wednesday, the Vermont Health Department reported that 37.4% of all Vermonters over age 16 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 21.5% have completed vaccination.
Currently all Vermonters over age 50 are eligible to be vaccinated.
The state has expanded vaccine eligibility to include parents caring for children at home with serious medical conditions.
On Thursday, Vermont is opening up vaccinations to all members of Vermont’s community of Black, indigenous and people of color over age 16 who are more likely to suffer severe consequences from COVID-19 and who are less likely to be vaccinated.
On Monday, Vermonters aged 40 and over will be eligible for vaccinations. By April 19, all Vermonters over age 16 will be eligible.
Recent testing at the Newport prison returned no positive results for COVID-19 in both inmates and staffers, the first time that results are all negative since an outbreak started at the facility in late February, the Vermont Department of Corrections said Wednesday.
“We will continue to test the facility and monitor the situation closely, we aren’t in the clear yet, but today is encouraging," Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker said in a written statement of the results from testing on Monday.
The prison, the Northern State Correctional Facility, currently has two cases among inmates and three staff cases, the department said. A total of 177 people have been medically cleared to leave isolation, it said.
Staffers and inmates will be tested again on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 162 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total since the virus began almost 19,300.
There were 31 people hospitalized, including two in intensive care.
The state reported two additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 227.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 108.71 on March 15 to 168 on March 29.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 0.57 on March 15 to 0.71 on March 29.