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News roundup: Health Department reports 192 new COVID infections, and two more people have died

A red background with vermont news round up written, with a small green graphic of vermot on the R of roundup
Elodie Reed

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus, Saturday’s reproductive rights rally and more for Monday, Oct. 4.

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While Vermont's pandemic state of emergency has ended, the delta variant is now circulating around the state. Click here for the latest on new cases, and findthe latest vaccination data online any time.

1. Vermont officials report 192 new COVID cases, 2 more deaths Monday

Vermont reported 192 new COVID-19 infections Monday, as well as two more people dying from the virus.

The latest from the Health Department shows 42 people are now hospitalized with the virus, 14 of whom are in the ICU.

Weekend infections climbed to 366, including more than 240 cases reported Saturday.

The vaccination rate of eligible Vermonters with at least one dose, last updated Saturday, is 88%.

All Vermont counties have now hit a 75% vaccination rate or higher, except Essex County, which lags at just under 62%.

- Matthew Smith 

UVMMC says 93% workers vaxxed for COVID-19

The University of Vermont Medical Center says 93% of its nearly 15,000 workers at facilities in Vermont and upstate New York have complied with requirements to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A spokesperson said three employees resigned rather than comply with the vaccine requirement that took effect on Friday.

The hospital system announced its policy in August.

In all, about 250 employees are not vaccinated and will be tested weekly, and 250 or so employees are partially vaccinated and will be tested until they are fully vaccinated.

Another 250 employees have yet to confirm whether they will choose weekly testing, vaccination, or have not submitted their vaccine documentation.

A total of 12 requests for religious exemption and being reviewed.

- Associated Press

2. More than 100 demonstrators show for reproductive rights rally Saturday

On Saturday, a crowd of over 100 demonstrators gathered on the Statehouse lawn in support of reproductive rights.

Similar rallies took place across the country, spurred by new restrictive abortion laws in Texas, and the uncertain future of Roe v. Wade.

Siobhan McCarty was in the crowd in Montpelier. She's an OB-GYN who practices at Gifford, and she says abortion is safe and science-based.

“But for some reason it continues to be fought in our court systems, and between our representatives and senators, which are historically male, and historically white men,” McCarty said.

Some Vermont lawmakers are continuing to push for an amendment to the state constitution which would explicitly protect reproductive rights.

- Anna Van Dine

3. Boy Scouts records reveal Vermonters among "ineligible volunteer" files

As the Boy Scouts of America navigates bankruptcy due to multiple legal settlements with sexual abuse survivors, decades of records are revealing how the organization tracked abusers in its "ineligible volunteer" files.

A mix of court-ordered releases and reporting from the Los Angeles Times has revealed thousands of such records, and survivors and victims advocates are now calling on the Boy Scouts of America to make such files public.

The Burlington Free Pressreports there are 14 such files linked to Vermont, but include unnamed alleged abusers while also omitting some known cases of camp counselors accused of abuse.

Several of the Vermont cases involve abusers from the 70s and 80s, some of whom have been charged and sentenced to prison terms.

In all, more than 7,800 scout leaders are believed to be named as abusers in the files, many of whom may have been accused but never charged, or cases where no charges brought due to the statute of limitations.

- Matthew Smith

4. Court documents show Jay Peak leaders "actively engaged" in sale discussions

Jay Peak ski resort's leaders are "actively engaged" in sale discussions with several potential buyers, according to recently filed court documents.

Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver who runs the resort, wrote in Friday's filing that draft purchase agreements have been exchanged — though he didn't say how many.

The process of selling the ski resort ground to a halt last year due to the pandemic. Goldberg restarted the search earlier this year.

Jay Peak has been managed by Goldberg since 2016, after owner Ariel Quiros and developer Bill Stenger were accused of misappropriating more than $200 million from foreign investors.

- Liam Elder-Connors

5. $3.6 million in tax incentives going to Vt. designated downtown, village center projects

More than $3.6 million in tax incentives is going to 28 projects in designated downtowns and village centers around Vermont.

The awards, announced by Gov. Phil Scott on Thursday, are expected to help spur over $83 million in building and public infrastructure improvements.

The projects include turning the former Bennington High School into a community center with recreation and arts programs, transforming a vacant St. Johnsbury warehouse into a hemp processing facility, and completing renovations of Currier’s Market in Glover.

The projects all won awards in the state's Downtown and Village Center tax credit program.

- Associated Press

6. Agency of Natural Resources to discuss water infrastructure projects at Thursday meeting

The secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is hosting a public meeting to discuss a variety of environmental topics, including the agency’s plan to invest about $100 million in COVID-19 relief funding on water infrastructure projects.

The meeting takes place Thursday night, Oct. 7th, both online and in-person, at the agency's main office in Montpelier.

The agency will administer funding to towns, commercial entities and individuals primarily to support water quality projects.

ANR Secretary Julie Moore says the more than $2.7 billion Vermont expects from the American Rescue Plan Act could be invested in water and sewer systems, affordable housing, water quality improvements and other critical infrastructure.

 - Associated Press

7. Sutton Select Board votes to allow ATVs on town roads

Another Vermont town will allow all-terrain vehicles on its roads.

The Caledonian Recordreports the Sutton Select Board on Thursday voted unanimously to allow ATVs on its Class 2 and 3 roads, despite calls from some residents to hold off.

The board pledged to reconsider the decision if the ATV traffic creates problems.

In recent years, the towns of Newport and Morristown have been among the communities to open up some local roads to ATVs.

- Matthew Smith

Elodie Reed compiled and edited this post.

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