but all ICU cases last week were unvaxxed, state officials say
by Guy Page
The rate of hospital admissions for “not fully” vaccinated Vermonters dropped 30% last week – more than twice as fast a drop as the 14% decrease for vaccinated people, Commissioner of Dept. of Financial Regulation Mike Pieciak reported at a press conference today.
However, the ‘not fully vaccinated’ hospitalization rate was still 2.7 times greater than the fully vaxxed, Dept. of Health statistics show. Also, 100% of the total ICU patients have been unvaccinated, Pieciak said.
The statistics offered no explanation for the decrease. However, Pieciak noted that nationwide both cases and hospitalizations trended down last week.
There were eight deaths last week. The press conference statistics do not differentiate between vaxxed and unvaxxed deaths. Last week, 76% of fatalities were vaccinated.
GOV UNAWARE OF STATE EMPLOYEE COVID-TESTING NON-COMPLIANCE – When asked by Vermont Daily Chronicle how many state employees are on unpaid suspension or indefinite leave due to not meeting mandatory attesting or testing, Gov. Scott said” “I am not sure at this point in time. I believe there have been over 86% who have attested to have been vaccinated. Which leaves us with 1100 who have not.” Those people need to mask and undergo weekly testing, he said. He promised to look into the question and provide answers.
STAFFING SHORTAGES FOR SCHOOL TESTING – Due to staffing shortages, non-medical staff will be assisting with student Covid-19 testing in schools, Agency Secretary Dan French said today. School nurses will still oversee the testing, he said. Gov. Scott said diverting the National Guard into schools is not an option right now, but activating a ‘reserve corps’ is a possibility.
Testing is necessary to keeping schools open, French said. He added that intensity of demand for testing varies among school districts. Reporter Mike Donoghue asked how, with schools already short-staffed, French expects to find more workers. “It’s a question of prioritizing our efforts, ” French said. “It’s ramping up for the moment were are in.”
Also, school nurses will have access to the State of Vermont’s student vaccination records, French confirmed.
HOMESCHOOLING UP FROM 2019, DOWN FROM 2020 – Preliminary 2021 school year census totals show about 3000 students are being home schooled so far this year, French said. Last year, when schools were closed much of the year, the total ballooned to 5,000. In 2019 the total was about 2,500, he said.
CHILD VAX DECISION COMING THIS MONTH – The CDC in late October will make an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) decision about the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said.
EVEN WITHOUT BOOSTER OR INDOOR MEASURES, VT CASES LIKELY TO DROP – A reporter asked state epidemiologist Dr. Patsy Kelso what will happen “if not enough people step for the booster.” She answered, “We’ve protected enough people with the original series that our cases should come down.” Indoor masking and distancing measures – under consideration in other states, and being urged by some Vermont legislators – wouldn’t do much in Vermont. “I don’t think just moving indoors is going to make much of a difference,” she said.
The Legislature has the power to enforce masking and other measures, but Scott said he wouldn’t advise it. “If they want to cancel Christmas, that’s up to them,” Scott said. He could do the same thing by reimposing a State of Emergency – it’s just not necessary now, he said.