3 More NEK COVID Deaths; Prison Outbreak Continues


The Health Department reported Tuesday that 3 additional Northeast Kingdom residents died of COVID-19 in recent days.

The deaths included 2 more deaths in Orleans County and 1 fatality in Caledonia County. There have now been 45 deaths in the NEK, with 22 in Orleans, 21 in Caledonia and 2 in Essex.

Statewide there have been 19 deaths in November, with 8 being among NEK residents.

The 7-day average in the NEK is at 56 new cases per day with the regional total at 6,058 as of Tuesday morning’s report from the Vermont Health Department. According to data from the CDC, the test positivity rate for the last week in the region ranged from 5.5% in Caledonia County, 6.9% in Orleans County and 15.3% in Essex County.

In northern New Hampshire, where cases have also been running at elevated levels the positivity rate is 14.6% in Coos County. The New Hampshire Health Department reported an additional death in Coos County on Tuesday as well, the second such announcement this week. There has been a total of 68 deaths in Coos County since the pandemic began.

Prison Outbreak

On Tuesday the Vermont Department of Corrections also announced 14 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in outbreak testing at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport. The testing was conducted Monday and 13 of the cases are in the incarcerated population and one is among staff.

There are now a total of 18 incarcerated cases and seven staff cases at NSCF considered currently positive in Newport. The facility is on full lockdown and contact tracing is underway. Further facility-wide testing will be held in the coming days. All 18 incarcerated individuals and four staff have tested positive as part of the outbreak, reported Rachel Feldman, DOC public information officer. The first outbreak cases in the Newport facility were reported late last week.

In the outbreak at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury, 19 incarcerated individuals have been medically cleared from COVID-19 status along with four staff, leaving one incarcerated positive and two positive staff at that facility. Statewide there are currently 20 positive incarcerated cases and 12 positive staff cases across four correctional facilities, stated Feldman in a release issued Tuesday evening.


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