Officials: Best protection against delta is vaccination
The best protection against the new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus remains vaccination, Vermont officials said Tuesday.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in Vermont is up slightly and testing is underway to determine how many of those cases are from the so-called delta variant, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday.
Despite the slight increases — there were 16 more virus cases in Vermont the last week than in the preceding week — Vermont continues to lead the country in a number of measures, including the top vaccination rate of 82.8% of the eligible population, those aged 12 and over, which has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
The state also leads in the percentage of the eligible population that is fully vaccinated, 73.7%, and the full population, which includes those under 12, that is fully vaccinated at 65.1%.
Levine said he doesn’t expect the delta strain will create the problems in Vermont it has in other parts of the country because of the state’s high vaccination rate.
“What we are seeing in some of the western and midwestern states are real clusters and pockets of intense activity of the virus, which almost universally correlates with low vaccination rates,” he said during the state’s weekly virus briefing.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the state is going to use federal funds appropriated in response to the coronavirus pandemic to help unemployed and underemployed state residents who are seeking new opportunities through career change or advancement take college courses.
The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program will cover the cost of two free education and training courses per Vermont resident at the University of Vermont and Community College of Vermont. The program has a goal of enrolling 500 Vermont residents through the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters.
The focus of the courses being offered are in three areas, the digital economy, healthcare, and leadership and management.
“This program is a perfect example of an impactful, important tool in our toolbox that will help provide more Vermonters the skills needed to successfully reenter the workforce or advance in their current field and rise on the economic ladder,” Scott said in a statement.
For more information and to begin the registration process people should visit the program’s website, upskillvermont.org.
On Tuesday, the Vermont Department of Health reported eight new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just under 24,500.
There were six people hospitalized with COVID-19, including one in intensive care.
The number of fatalities from COVID-19 remains at 258. Vermont has not had a COVID-19 fatality in July.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 4.86 new cases per day on June 27 to 10 new cases per day on July 11.
The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.