Only a few new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Waterbury and nearby communities last week after six weeks of double-digit new case counts, according to Vermont Department of Health data released last Friday, Sept. 24.
Waterbury’s total cases for the pandemic stands at 322, which reflects just five new cases since Sept. 15. Data were current through Sept. 22. Those were the most new cases recorded among local communities adjacent to Waterbury and in the Harwood Unified Union School District in the past week. Several other communities – Stowe, Moretown and Warren – each had two cases reported.
The local trend is apart from the statewide pattern where Vermont overall has been seeing an average of just over 200 cases per day over the past week or so. As of Monday this week, all of the state’s 14 counties were considered to have a high rate of virus transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One new case of COVID-19 was reported in HUUSD schools last week. On Saturday, Sept. 26, a case was identified at Brookside Primary School in Waterbury. School officials did not specify whether it was a child or an adult, only that it was an individual in the preschool program. This was the fifth COVID-19 case in the district so far this school year and although many students have stayed home to quarantine while awaiting testing results, no further cases were found in those instances.
The school district on Monday started its surveillance testing program for staff and students. In a memo to the community, the district said some 600 staff and students took part with newly hired testing assistants helping school nurses administer tests. The program will be done in schools throughout Vermont to test those who volunteer in order to identify cases before individuals have symptoms.
According to data released Tuesday from the Health Department, Vermont schools have reported 524 cases of COVID-19 so far this school year through Sept. 19. Of those 144 cases were reported in the previous week.
In other recent COVID-19 news, the state announced that Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots are now available for older Vermonters who received their last vaccine at least six months ago. Appointments are becoming available through the Health Department in age bands starting last week with those age 80 and above. Others eligible include those with certain health conditions.
Those age 65 and older also may be able to schedule a booster appointment with a pharmacy or health care provider. Booster shots require an appointment and individuals should bring their vaccine card.
At this time, boosters are only available for the Pfizer vaccine for those who previously received the Pfizer shots. Boosters for those who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to be announced in the coming weeks as well. State health officials said they anticipated that the Centers for Disease Control will next approve boosters for other younger individuals, those with certain high-risk conditions, and in occupations with high risk of exposure.
The Health Department and pharmacies across the state continue to offer first and second doses of the vaccine at walk-in clinics and events. Those are listed on the state Health Department website. More information about booster shots and vaccines is available online at healthvermont.gov/MyVaccine. Anyone needing assistance apart from the online information and registration may call 855-722-7878.
Waterbury Ambulance Service continues to offer daily testing at its ambulance station at 1727 Guptil Road and COVID-19 vaccines several days a week. Find the most up-to-date testing times and make appointments online at healthvermont.gov/covid-19