Vermont reports record COVID-19 hospitalizations

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont on Tuesday reported its highest number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 84 people were hospitalized, with 22 in intensive care, according to the Vermont Department of Health.

Unvaccinated people made up 71% of the hospitalizations and 81% of critical care stays over the last seven days, according to state data. During his weekly virus briefing Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott urged Vermonters to get vaccinated and get their boosters.

Slightly less than half of the hospitalizations are in the Rutland and Bennington areas, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. He advised speaking with a doctor about monoclonal antibody treatment for those people at higher risk of serious illness who have been infected, as well as people in Rutland and Bennington who have tested positive and have mild or moderate symptoms.

“Remember the treatment works best in the first five days, when you’re most likely to have mild to moderate symptoms and at that time can reduce your chance of being hospitalized by 70%,” Levine said. “This is especially important now with our case levels where they are and our hospitalizations numbers remaining where they are.”

The state is working with hospitals to make more sub-acute and intensive care beds available, with 13 sub-acute beds expected to be open this week, said Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services. One ICU bed is being added at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, and the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington will add five additional ICU beds, he said.

“We will continue to work with Central Vermont Medical Center and Northwestern Medical Center to bring additional beds online. We will continue to evaluate the need and he ability to bring more beds online as needed,” Smith said.