MONTPELIER — State officials see no reason to reimpose coronavirus pandemic restrictions, citing the state’s high vaccination rate.
At his weekly news conference Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott said what’s going on across the country with the so-called Delta variant of the virus shows why vaccination is so important.
“For the past several weeks, the rest of the country with low-vaccination rates have seen a dramatic increase in cases and hospitalizations. … Fortunately, and this is important, the vaccines are proving effective against all variants we’ve encountered so far, including Delta,” Scott said.
The state reported 83.6% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
He said even though cases are up slightly in Vermont, hospitalizations remain low and there has only been one death from the virus in the state in July. The governor said that’s because the state did a good job getting the most vulnerable vaccinated.
The state reported 171 new cases this week compared to 89 cases the week prior.
Scott said about 90,000 residents who are eligible haven’t been vaccinated. He said younger Vermonters continue to lag behind their parents and grandparents.
He urged those 12 years old and older to get vaccinated now so that they are ready for the start of the school year. It’s unclear whether masking will be required when the school year starts. State officials said they are working on those details now and should have something to announce next week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday afternoon they were recommending masking indoors for K-12 schools in response to the increased cases from Delta. The CDC also recommended masking indoors for those who are vaccinated in areas with higher levels of the virus.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said there were only 11 new cases reported in the state Monday and five or six people in the hospital with the virus.
“So there’s not a reason for us to take an alarmist kind of stance, make any major changes,” Levine said.
Scott said much of the state has essentially gone back to normal, noting he’s attended multiple parades this summer and Lamoille County Field Days kicked off this past weekend, things that weren’t possible last summer because of the pandemic.
Scott said from the beginning state officials have wanted to make sure Vermont’s health care system wouldn’t get overwhelmed by virus cases and that’s been accomplished.
“We’ve done a great job here in Vermont. We should take advantage of that in a lot of respects,” he said.