10 ICU beds unstaffed; small schools may close; VT should emulate Texas, Florida, Scott says

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By Guy Page

Some of takeaways from today’s press conference with Gov. Phil Scott and his administration:

  1. 10 Vermont ICU hospital beds are unstaffed.
  2. Small schools with high Covid-19 numbers may close due to staffing pressures.
  3. Vermont should emulate Florida and Texas in an important Covid-19 treatment.
  4. No updated vaxxed/unvaxxed death totals available – but they’re coming soon.

Nineteen Vermonters have died of Covid-19 this month, according to Vermont Dept. of Health statistics published today. 

The breakdown of fatalities among fully/partially/not vaccinated Vermonters is not available today, but Health Dept. officials promised this breakdown soon will be added to the weekly reports.

There is strong national social media interest in Vermont’s breakthrough mortality statistics–in particular, September’s data showing that 76% of Covid-19 deaths were suffered by vaccinated Vermonters. A Vermont Daily Chronicle post has been republished by Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Joseph Mercola, InfoWars and other well-read national websites. Since September, the vaccinated/unvaccinated death totals are split roughly 50/50. (The mortality rate, however, is higher among the unvaccinated, due to the state’s roughly 4-1 vaccinated/unvaccinated ratio.) 

“Unfortunately we’re not able to get you the data this morning,” Health Dept. spokesperson Ben Truman said in an email today. “As is all too obvious, we are experiencing a significant surge in cases. This means the data team is working full bore to collect, analyze and prepare multiple data points for each individual, cluster and outbreak. This impacts our ability to immediately turn around special request such as this – though, as you have experienced, this amazing group steps up to respond as soon as possible. In addition, some death data is not immediately available, as it also involves death information from Vital Records being incorporated into the Covid databases. For these reasons, when we are able to provide you with this information, it will not be current to-date, but rather, reflect a lag-time date at which the completed data is available.”

“The vaxxed/unvaxxed mortality data you request are important, which is why we expect to soon have that available either on the dashboard or incorporated in the Weekly Data Summaries,” Truman said. He added that VT Dept. of Health officials “do not currently have a breakdown of testing by age group.” 

Scott says Vermont should emulate Texas and Florida. Like two southern states, Vermont must provide more access to monoclonal antibody treatment of Covid-19, Gov. Scott said. 

“Florida and Texas have had tremendous success with this strategy, and we should learn from them,” Scott said.

Treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies are available if you have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19. If taken early, they can reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, according to federal health officials. Monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, are made in a laboratory to fight a particular infection — in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19 — and are given to patients directly with an infusion or a shot. Your body naturally makes antibodies to fight infection. However, your body may not have antibodies designed to recognize a new virus like the virus that causes COVID-19. That’s why mAb treatment may help patients who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization, the NCDHHS says. 

School closings expected – Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Dan French said staffing pressures at small schools with high numbers of positive Covid-19 tests will force school closures this year. “I expect we will see closures of small schools” with high case rates, due to staffing pressures, French said. 

Last year, most Vermont school classrooms were closed for lengthy periods of time due to Covid-19. State officials hoped the vaccination program would eliminate the need for holding school remotely, but that likely will not hold true for the school districts referred to above. 

Nursing shortage acute, but not due to vax requirements, Human Service Secretary says. At today’s press conference, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said the state will provide extra funding to reduce the state’s nursing shortage. Ten ICU beds in five hospitals across the state are unstaffed. Vermont Daily Chronicle asked if Vermont hospital’s vaccination requirements are driving nurses to less restrictive states.  

Not at all, Smith replied. “I don’t think that is the issue we are seeing here.” Vermont’s nursing shortage reflects the national shortage. He added that nurses are unlikely to flee to less restrictive states because the Biden administration’s mandate of 100% hospital employee vaccination by Jan. 4 covers all 50 states.

However, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has at least temporarily stayed the Biden ruling in the states of its jurisdiction: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Whether the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns the ruling for the entire nation remains to be seen.

11 replies »

  1. If I saw this sign anywhere in Vermont I would rip it down immediately. Someone should be posting the stats on how many nurses are obese, alcoholics and drug addicts. Add in how many nurses pilfer hospital supplies and then charge the patients for what they steal.
    And I don’t believe for a second that 19 people in Vermont died OF the CCP virus. They may have died WITH the virus but I believe those deaths were all a result of medical malpractice.
    Phil Scott is, and will always be, a jackass.

  2. There’s going to be some unhappy liberals and legislators after this news conference. Scott made it very clear a mandate isn’t required, he’s not going to do it…So, Balint and Krowinski need to put up or shut up. Scott is giving them the opportunity to be heroes…or maybe not. Election season starts in but 6 weeks. Should the two aspiring socialists get a law passed that meets Scott’s requirements- all the usual cities will pile on the mandate bandwagon- regardless of the impact on businesses, primarily retail and restaurants- during retails make or break time of year- Christmas.

  3. Gov. Scott tells us to emulate Texas…….Based on the current Texas Covid trend and situation, he’s probably giving good advice.

    I’m writing from Austin, Tx where my wife and I have been for the fall to visit our grandchildren and the Longhorn football season. Here’s what I’m seeing:

    1. Covid is not an issue in Austin nor in the State of Texas……Low infection rates, low hospitalization rates, low ICU usage, low ventilator usage and low deaths…….Take a look at Austin’s Covid Dashboard on the internet for specifics.

    2. No mask mandates, low mask usage…….You rarely see anyone wearing a mask anywhere in the Lone Star State.

    3. Last Saturday 95,202 non-mask wearing and shoulder to shoulder seated fans filled Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium for the disastrous loss by the Longhorns to the hapless 1-8 Kansas Jayhawks……The attendance at the day’s game equalled about 15% of Vermont’s total population…..An occurrence that has happened for all home games this fall……No masks, No Covid.

    4. The same things are happening around Texas and at all the weekly football games attended by hundreds of thousands of football fans not wearing masks and seated and standing shoulder to shoulder……No masks, No Covid

    5. About a year ago Covid was raging, masks were required and live college football attendance was severely limited…….Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium was essentially empty……High Covid levels.

    I have no idea of why Texas is experiencing its present Covid trend…..But it does indicate that not wearing masks has no impact on increasing the spread of Covid.

    Gov.Scott may be right on his call to emulate Texas….. The situation in Texas supports his call…….Time will tell.

    But there is no doubt that Speaker Krowinski is totally at sea when she calls for a mask mandate by telling Vermonters: “Why don’t we implement the strategies we know work, like a mask mandate, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?’”

    With due respect to Speaker Krowinski…….You don’t know, we don’t know that mask mandates work……There is no basis for her call for mask mandate.

    • I think whats happening in texas and florida and many other states is a result of high initial infections and thus current high levels of natural immunity. Dr. Levine said he believes some of the current failures in vermont are because we had such low infection rates early on (maybe 3% state pop.) due to draconian mandates and a high number of sheep that took the mrna injections early yielding very low levels of natural immunity combined with a wanning, beneficial to few “vaccine “. My question is, if this is the case, why are we shaming, bribing and stripping liberties of young children and healthy adults that have very low risk in regard to the virus and could help the state by increasing natural immunity numbers post infection. Wish i was in Texas!

      • Excellent report, albeit anecdotal. And the TX ‘dashboard’ is interesting too. 53.9% of Texans have been vaccinated compared to 81% of Vermonters.

        So, consider that, for this year, while unvaccinated Texas residents made up the vast majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths, vaccination rates in Texas were very low. “The majority of Texans ages 16 and up didn’t become eligible for the vaccine until late March [2021].”

        Vermont, on the other hand, had the highest vaccination rates in the country early on.

        Curiously, however, over the last two months (September and October), vaccinated Vermonters accounted for 65% of the State’s Covid deaths. I’ve not been able to find a Texas report for the last two months or so.

        It seems the vaccines do lose their efficacy over a short period of time (six months or so), and wearing masks has little, if any, effect. And if Vermont’s experience is any guide, proportional deaths among vaccinated Texans are going to increase.

    • The only basis for a Mask Mandate is political. balint and krowinski know this and will use it for political advantage. 20 months of fear showered down from politicians and bureaucrats has an effect- and if they can keep it going for another 10-11 months….
      It’s all about maintaining and increasing political power.
      The daily case rate is dropping, without any mandates. Scott has directed state funds be used to pay ‘travelers’ to staff ICU beds. There’s a whole lot of posturing going on, with the liberal left looking for political gain. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is but a means to an end for these people.

  4. Vermont is making national news with the failed policies – rising cases, rising mortality rates, and implementing mandates again – all after crowing about vaccination rates. Who is going to want to come here to visit, work or live as it appears clear this thing is more out of control than under control. Economic wipe-out on deck for Vermont. We are doomed if they keep these policies going…no one will want to come here.

  5. Guy, here’s a story. Why are you the only media in Vermont asking the right questions and publishing a different narrative? You’re leaving everyone else in the dust.

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