'Slight Uptick' of COVID Cases No Cause for Alarm, Vermont Officials Say | Health Care | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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'Slight Uptick' of COVID Cases No Cause for Alarm, Vermont Officials Say


Published April 12, 2022 at 4:12 p.m.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Health Commissioner Mark Levine
Vermont officials said Tuesday that a “slight uptick” of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations — driven by the highly contagious Omicron subvariant known as  BA.2 — doesn’t mean the state will experience a surge like last winter's.

And while conceding that there too many unknowns to accurately predict where the virus might go from here, officials said they saw no need for any new mitigation strategies at this time.

“We know that the virus is not going away, just like you might get a cold or any respiratory infection,” Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at Gov. Phil Scott’s weekly press briefing. “But with the right tools, the virus does not need to upend our lives.”

Vermont reported an average of 200 daily infections over the last seven days, up 29 percent from a week ago.

A shift toward more home testing has made daily case counts less reliable. But there are other indications that infections are increasing: More people have recently reported positive tests to the health department; the virus has become more prevalent in wastewater data; and hospitalizations have more than doubled over the last two weeks, up to 35 on Tuesday.

The increases coincide with a broader rise in COVID cases across the Northeast. Experts are unsure whether the trend will amount to a larger surge or something milder.

Vermont's current wave, according to Levine, bears little resemblance to the start of the original Omicron spike, which went on to infect more than 60,000 people and kill dozens. Hospitalizations are rising more slowly than they did in the winter, while the rate of deaths has fallen this month, Levine said.

“The protection of the vaccines and the relatively milder nature of the BA.2 variant for most people are hopeful signs that we can weather serious impacts to Vermonters and our health care system,” he said.