Vermont is seeing a steady drop in COVID-19 cases and a strong rate of people getting vaccinated, state officials said Tuesday, making them optimistic about the future and a more normal summer than last year’s.
The seven-day average number of cases has dropped 39% since April 1 and 24% in the last week, according Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who has been monitoring the COVID-19 statistics during the pandemic.
Vermont also has among the highest rate in the country of people aged 65 and older getting vaccinated, at 93%, and is in the top 10 of states in the amount of shots given and the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated, he said.
“We have made remarkable progress here in Vermont. Vermonters are known to stick together through difficult times and this is just another example of our extraordinary resilience and dedication to doing the right thing,” said Deputy Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson.
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Cases are falling fast among the younger populations in Vermont that were thought to be driving the spread of the coronavirus at the end of March, Pieciak said. They just became eligible for vaccines so vaccinations are not the reason for the decline, Pieciak said.
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“It seems much more likely that the decrease is due to behavioral changes whether it’s being more cautious, following the public health guidance, spending more time outdoors but we do want to thank younger Vermonters for helping slow the spread as we continue to work to get vaccines to those who are more vulnerable and also request that they keep it,” he said.
In the northeast region, cases are down about 10%, with New York, Quebec, Canada, and all New England states — except for Maine — seeing a drop in the last week, according to state data.
“Generally this is the first clear sign we’ve had in weeks that the COVID-19 situation is starting to improve in the states that surround Vermont as well, which will certainly be helpful to us in the upcoming weeks and months,” Pieciak said.
To date, 40% of people ages 16 to 29 in Vermont have made appointments to be vaccinated, said Samuelson. As of Tuesday, more than 295,100 people have been vaccinated in Vermont, with more than 201,300 receiving their first and last dose of the vaccine.