The Delta variant continues to surge through the Northeast Kingdom, wracking up over 100 more cases in the last 2 days. COVID-19 also claimed another NEK resident with the region’s 30th death.

The latest coronavirus fatality was from Caledonia County, the fifth in the last month and 15th total. Orleans County’s most recent COVID death was in early August and Essex County was in early April.

The region saw 90 new infections on Wednesday, which is tied for the 2nd highest daily total, and 44 new cases on Thursday. The NEK’s total is now at 4,828 cases, with the 7-day moving average of new cases just over 50 cases per day, near the all-time high set last week.

At least 15 schools in the area were impacted recently by COVID cases, according to the Health Department’s Cases in Schools While Infectious report. The schools with new cases in the most recent report include:

Barton Graded School - 1 new case, 6 total; Bradford Elementary School - 1, 5; Brownington Central School - 1, 4; Canaan Schools - 1, 3; Craftsbury Schools- 1, 2; Derby Elementary School - 4, 36; Jay/Westfield Joint School - 1, 1; Lake Region UHS - 1. 16; Lyndon Town School - 2, 8; Newport City Elem Schools - 2, 12; North Country UHS - 5, 33; North Country Union JR High - 3, 11; Orleans Elementary School - 3, 5; St. Johnsbury Academy - 1, 11; St. Johnsbury Schools - 2, 14; Walden School - 2, 2.

Vaccinations & Boosters

According to the Health Department, some NEK residents have begun getting their COVID booster shots. The state’s vaccine dashboard says about 500 Orleans County residents have received a booster, 100 Essex County residents and 600 Caledonia County residents. The three counties are still near the bottom in terms of overall vaccination rate compared to the rest of Vermont, with an estimated 68.1% of eligible people in Essex County receiving at least 1 dose, 76.4% in Orleans County, and 78.1% in Caledonia County.

The state, following federal authorization, recently expanded booster shot availability to anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson dose at least 2 months ago, as people who received the Moderna or Pfizer doses at least 6 months ago and are also over 65, have certain medical conditions, work in a high-risk setting or are BIPOC.

Upcoming vaccination clinics run by the state are planned at the Green Mountain Mall on Oct. 23, Oct. 25, Oct. 27, Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 3, Nov. 4, Nov. 5 & Nov. 6.; NCHC in Island Pond on Oct. 26, Oct. 29, Nov. 2 & Nov. 5; Northern Express Care in St. Johnsbury on Oct. 23, Oc.t. 26, Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 2 & Nov. 4; NCHC in Hardwick on Oct. 26, Oct. 27, Oct. 28, Nov. 2, Nov. 3 & Nov. 4; Derby Elks Club - Oct. 25, Nov. 1 & Nov. 8.

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