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Vaccination sites will be open in Vermont despite snow

February 1, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vaccination sites will be open on Tuesday in Vermont as most of the state is expected to get a half to a foot (15-30 centimeters) of snow but anyone concerned about traveling can reschedule their appointments, state officials said Monday.

Vermont is now vaccinating people aged 75 and older who have registered for appointments.

Those who cannot get to their appointments or do not want to travel in the snow should call 855-722-7878 to reschedule, the Vermont Joint Information Center said in a statement. They will be given a new appointment later in the week and will not have to start the registration process over, the center said.

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Vermonters are urged not to travel if driving conditions are difficult, the center said.

The Health Department was also contacting people who have appointments on Tuesday to give them the option of rescheduling, the center said.

Others who have registered to get their vaccine at Kinney Drug should contact the store to see if the clinic will be open and how to reschedule.

In other pandemic-related news in Vermont:

WASTEWATER TESTING

Vermont’s largest city is continuing to monitor its wastewater for any signs of the new, more infectious strains of COVID-19.

Burlington has been testing its wastewater since August to monitor COVID-19 levels and recently starting testing for the U.K. variant, WCAX-TV reports.

“We still are not detecting the new variant, the U.K. variant, which is good. It doesn’t mean it’s not here, it just means if it is, it’s at such a low level that we can’t detect it,” Brian Lowe, the city’s chief innovation officer, told the station.

Lowe said the type of test for the U.K. variant can also detect other mutations of the virus.

“One of those two changes is also present in the Brazilian and the South African variant, so we would be able to see there is a mutation. We wouldn’t know definitively which one, could be one of those, could be something different, but we would know there is a mutation present in our community wastewater,” he said.

Chittenden County has had more than 500 new confirmed virus cases and two deaths in the last two weeks.

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PUBLIC WI-FI

A new public Wi-Fi site has been installed outside of City Hall in Montpelier to give people more access to reliable internet connections amid the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said.

The project was sponsored by the Vermont Department of Public Service after facilities that offered Wi-Fi closed because of the pandemic, restricting people’s ability to access free and reliable internet service, the city announced on Thursday.

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“The need for access to a reliable internet connections for healthcare, education, and government services has grown exponentially while existing public access points have become suddenly unavailable due to social distancing requirements,” the city said in a statement.

The Wi-Fi site is accessible anytime from a parked vehicle on the road, or in-person in the courtyard in front of Montpelier City Hall and the parking lot on the right of the building, but city officials are urging people not to congregate outside as a virus-related safety precaution.

Users should be able to access the “Montpelier Hotspot” without a password.

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NUMBERS

On Monday, the Vermont Health Department reported 113 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just under 12,100.

The state reported 60 people were hospitalized, including six people in intensive care.

The number of fatalities since the pandemic began remained at 175.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 155.71 new cases per day on Jan. 17 to 133.14 new cases per day on Jan. 31.

The latest average positivity rate in Vermont is 1.89%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Vermont the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 2.37% on Jan. 17 to 1.89% on Jan. 31.