MONTPELIER — Officials say there's a slight uptick in coronavirus cases in the state, though they aren't concerned thanks to the state's high vaccination rate.
At Gov. Phil Scott's regular news conference Tuesday, Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said 2,258 people received their first dose of the vaccine this past week. That brings the eligible population with at least one dose of the vaccine to 83.2%, which is best in the country. Only those 12 years and older are eligible for the vaccines available because they haven't been approved for anyone younger than that.
Pieciak said the state has seen its second week of increased cases. He said there were 89 reported cases during the past week compared to 54 the week prior.
“The majority of these cases continue to be in the unvaccinated population here in Vermont,” he said.
Pieciak said cases are expected to be a little higher than they have been going forward thanks to the so-called Delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated. This variant, first identified in India, is said to be more transmissible and can cause more severe illness than prior versions of the virus.
While cases regionally have increased, he said the number of hospitalizations has remained stable.
Pieciak said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday it estimates 83% of all new cases are the Delta variant.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said residents are well protected from the virus thanks to Vermont's high vaccination rate. Levine said while there has been an increase in cases, there have been no big outbreaks.
He said the unvaccinated, however, have never been at higher risk than they are now because of this variant and again encouraged everyone who can to get vaccinated.
The commissioner said the vaccines are doing what they are supposed to do by preventing severe illness and death.
“We've already seen how these numbers have dropped in Vermont as our vaccination rate increased. The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths nationwide, meaning well over 90%, are among the unvaccinated,” Levine said.
He said the science now shows just one dose of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is not as effective at combating Delta as getting both doses. Levine said while just one dose might have been enough protection from older variants, getting both doses now is important.