New York Digital News

Vermont reports record-high 940 new Covid cases, plus 3 more deaths


Vermont reported 940 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, shattering the state’s previous one-day record by more than 200 cases.

Vermont’s previous peak was 739 cases on Dec. 9, according to data from the Vermont Department of Health. Wednesday’s total brings the state’s seven-day average of daily new cases to 462, nearing the record of 485 from Dec. 6.

Health officials have warned that case numbers will fluctuate due to the state’s limited holiday testing schedule and the increased use of at-home rapid antigen tests, most of which go unreported. (Vermonters who take rapid tests are asked to report their results to the health department through an online form.)

Yet the sharp increase mirrors trends seen in other countries and states as the more contagious Omicron variant takes hold. The United States set a one-day record on Tuesday with more than 267,000 new cases reported nationwide, according to the New York Times.

While the state health department has not updated its dashboard for tracking variants, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at a press conference Tuesday that Omicron could account for more than 80% of infections in Vermont within a week.

Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak said Tuesday that the state expects cases to continue to rise due to the impacts of holiday gatherings and the Omicron variant.

Levine said Tuesday that case numbers may take on less significance during the anticipated Omicron surge. Early data indicates that Omicron cases among people with booster shots are generally milder and briefer compared to previous variants, so elevated case numbers may not lead to proportionally high rates of severe illness.

“Many of you may regard case number data as important — and I understand that — but really what I and every person on this stage will be watching closely are the data and metrics of its outcomes among people, specifically hospitalizations and deaths,” Levine said Tuesday.

The increased use of at-home rapid tests is also likely to affect both case numbers and test positivity rates. Unreported tests lead to an undercount in the total number of new cases, but they also go uncounted in the total number of tests used to calculate the state’s positivity rate.

“We’re going to have a distorted view of percent positivity if we don’t know the whole universe of tests that have been done,” Levine said.

Vermont’s seven-day average positivity rate was 5.5% on Wednesday, a record high since the first months of the pandemic, when testing was scarce. 

As of Wednesday, 54 people in Vermont were hospitalized with Covid-19, with 18 of those patients in intensive care.

The state reported three more deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing Vermont’s death toll during the pandemic to 468. All three victims were age 80 or older. So far in December, 50 Vermonters have died from Covid-19, making this the second-deadliest month of the pandemic in the state.

[Looking for data on breakthrough cases? See our reporting on the latest available statistics.]

📈 Get the latest statistics and live updates on our coronavirus page.
📫 Sign up for our coronavirus email list.
🗣️ Tell us your story or give feedback at [email protected]
🙏 Support our nonprofit journalism with a donation.