News Roundup: Vermont Dept. of Health Reports 88 New COVID-19 Cases
Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Friday, Aug. 6.
As Vermont's pandemic state of emergency has ended and coronavirus restrictions lifted statewide, we will no longer be reporting daily case numbers at the top of this post. Click here for the latest on new cases, and findthe latest vaccination data online any time.
1. Vermont Dept. of Health reports outbreak involving Waterbury Day Camp
13 children who were part of a day camp in Waterbury have tested positive for COVID-19.
That's according to the department of health. All of the campers were unvaccinated, because they are under the age of 12 and are not eligible for the vaccine. The camp is run by Waterbury Parks and Recreation.
Contact tracing is being done, according to the department. Health officials are recommending anyone associated with the camp monitor themselves and their children for symptoms.
A testing site is planned for Saturday and Sunday in Waterbury Center.
— Henry Epp
Health officials report 88 new COVID-19 cases Friday
Vermont health officials reported 88 new COVID-19 infections today, the highest single-day case count in the state in three months, since May 6.
Fully half of those cases — 44 in all — were in Chittenden County.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 remain high, at 12 people, including eight individuals in the ICU.
Vermont's vaccination rate remains at just over 84%.
— Matthew Smith
UVM Health Network will require its nearly 15,000 employees get vaccinated
The University of Vermont Health Network is joining other major health care providers that serve Vermont in requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The rule applies to nearly 15,000 employees across the health system. Workers will need to get vaccinated by October, or be subject to undergo weekly testing.
The network says currently over 80% of staff are vaccinated.
The move follows a decision by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health to mandate vaccines for its roughly 13,000 employees, including those at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center.
The VA Medical Center in White River Junction is also requiring staff to be vaccinated.
VTDiggerreports Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is requiring vaccinations for new employees. And Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital will require vaccinations once the shots get full FDA approval.
— Lexi Krupp
Two more Vermont colleges re-instate indoor mask mandates, regardless of vaccination status
Two more Vermont colleges are re-instating indoor mask mandates for anyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status.
St. Michael's College and the Community College of Vermont both announced Friday the new rule would take effect on Monday, Aug. 9.
The University of Vermont also announced Thursday it was immediately requiring masking indoors.
The new restrictions come amid an uptick in coronavirus cases, driven by the more contagious delta variant.
— Liam Elder-Connors
Walk-in vaccine clinics launch at schools starting this weekend
The state is preparing a new series of walk-in vaccination clinics at schools across Vermont starting next week.
The clinics kick off Sunday, with clinics at high schools in Canaan and Vergennes, and at a middle school in Duxbury.
They'll continue through next week, with clinics at high schools in Fair Haven and Springfield on Monday.
Later in the week, clinics will open at schools from Manchester to Whitingham to Derby Center.
Walk-in appoints are welcome, or can be booked early on thehealth department's website, where hours for each clinic are also available.
School-based clinics will be offered throughout Vermont into the fall.
Vaccinations remain available at pharmacies, grocery stores, and clinics throughout the state.
— Matthew Smith
2. Drought conditions ease in northern Vermont
Drought conditions eased in northern Vermont this week — that's according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Just under half the state is experiencing some level of drought. That down from nearly two-thirds last week.
Five counties — Bennington, Windham, Windor, Rutland and Addison — are not experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
While that's good news, data show groundwater levels continue to be below normal in the northern half of the state.
An estimated 88,000 Vermonters live in areas experiencing drought conditions.
— Brittany Patterson
3. Extended CDC eviction moratorium now affects six Vermont counties
The extended eviction moratorium mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now affects six Vermont counties, and more than half of the counties in New Hampshire.
The order was issued Tuesday for areas of the country experiencing high levels of coronavirus spread.
It's intended to keep people out of homeless shelters where the more transmissible delta variant could spread even further.
As of Friday, the six Vermont counties that now meet the threshold are Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Washington and Orleans.
New Hampshire Public Radio reports the Granite State is pausing some eviction court cases in Belknap, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford Counties to comply with the new eviction moratorium.
To qualify, tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent must fill out a form and present it to their landlord or property owner.
— The Associated Press
4. Elle Purrier takes 10th place in 1500m Olympic finals
Vermont's Elle Purrier St.Pierre finished in 10th place out of the 13 runners competing in the women's 1,500 meter race Friday at the Tokyo Olympics.
Faith Kipyagon won the gold for Kenya, setting an Olympic record of 3 minutes and 53.11 seconds.
She outran reigning champ Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, who took bronze. Laura Muir of Great Britain won the silver medal.
Purrier St Pierre finished with a time of 4 minutes 1.75 seconds, nearly identical to the time she ran in the semi-finals that launched her into the final round.
The 26-year-old Montgomery native ran track for Richford high school and the University of New Hampshire before becoming an Olympic finalist this year.
She ran her last race of the games just before 9 a.m. Friday morning, or about 10 p.m. Friday night in Japan.
— Matthew Smith
Abagael Giles compiled and edited this post.