While not setting another new record, the one day total for new cases of COVID-19 reported in Vermont remained very high with 1,917 cases identified.

The findings are posted to the COVID dashboard maintained by the Vermont Department of Health. On Thursday, the new case total was 2,188, the current high number for cases reported in one day, but last week the record was 1,727, making the number reported on Friday the second highest since the pandemic began.

Before the end of the year, Vermont health care providers and state officials said they were expecting high numbers because people were expected to gather for the end of the year holidays and because the omicron variant of COVID is believed to be more transmissible than the native virus.

The number of new cases identified remained high, but the number of people hospitalized for COVID treatment declined by about 7.8% to 84 from 91 reported on Thursday.

During the past two weeks, Chittenden County had the largest number of COVID cases with 2,944 while Rutland County was second with 1,115 and Washington County was third with 929 during the past 14 days.

The number of deaths from COVID remained stable from Thursday to Friday at 482 which could provide some good news for Vermont during a challenging pandemic.

The total number of COVID cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic is about 73,800. If another 300 cases were identified and three more deaths were recorded, the percentage of deaths resulting from COVID in Vermont would drop to about 0.65% while the current rate is 0.7%.

According to a graph posted by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the fatality rate in the United States overall as of Friday is 1.4%.

Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, said in Vermont the fatality rate and the percentage of COVID cases that result in hospitalization have decreased since the early days of the pandemic.

He noted it was hard to make an exact comparison because testing wasn’t as available at the beginning of Vermont’s response to COVID. But through the past few months, there has been a steady drop in the fatality rate.

“For months, although cases have been going up, that fatality ratio has been going down. That is good,” he said.

Pieciak said the numbers may be affected by the increased number of young people who have gotten COVID because they tend to be less sick and recover more easily from the virus.

But he added that he thought the relatively low number of deaths reflected Vermont’s high rates of vaccination and boosters. As of Friday, almost 60% of Vermonters had been fully vaccinated and received a booster.

“So much of this pandemic has made it feel like things are out of our control, and what is in our control is to get vaccinated and get boosted and that puts you very much in control over the likelihood that you’re going to get this virus or, even if you do get it, the type of symptoms you’re going to have, the experience you’re going to have. It’s really important,” he said.

Pieciak said the fatality rate was moving in a positive direction but also noted that the aggregate number of deaths in Vermont was the second highest per-month in December since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were 60 deaths in December, 42 in November, 47 in October and 49 in September. He said that although the ratio was in decline, the presence of more COVID cases results in more deaths.

According to Pieciak, data from the last six months indicates that someone who in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated is 23 times more likely to die than someone who is fully vaccinated and boosted.

He also pointed out that the 482 deaths was the lowest per capita from COVID in the United States.

Pieciak said he believed Vermonters should be proud that they’re taking steps to protect not just themselves but their community. He said he was also grateful for health care providers who have made vaccination and booster clinics so convenient for people throughout the state.

Go online to healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine to find out where you can get vaccinated or a booster shot.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com

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