By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
Gov. Phil Scott praised the White House’s COVID-19 Winter Action Plan, saying the plan mirrors what Vermont is doing to protect its residents.
“President Biden [Thursday] outlined a strong plan to confront COVID-19 that will help the country keep moving forward,” Scott said in a news release. “Like Vermont’s current policies, it strongly prioritizes vaccines, boosters and testing. I share the President’s commitment to progress by prioritizing what we know will work best, which are not the broad restrictions of 2020, because we need to be able to bring Americans and Vermonters along with us 20-plus months into the pandemic.”
Scott said the country is “in a much different place today” than it was a year ago “with incredibly safe and effective vaccines” that are available to children over age 5 through senior citizens and “boosters available to maximize protection.”
“This pandemic is still being driven by the unvaccinated, and it’s more important than ever, as we head into the winter, to prioritize these proven strategies that work best, as we have in Vermont,” Scott said.
Biden’s action plan calls for protocols to address the omicron variant, in addition to encouraging vaccinations and booster shots, while pushing mask mandates on domestic flights to March 18. The administration also raised restrictions on international travelers, in addition to attaining a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours before departure.
In Vermont on Friday, the Department of Health reported there were 482 new COVID-19 cases to push the state’s total to 51,619 since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently 81 people with the virus hospitalized, and 22 are in Intensive Care Units.
The department reported the positivity rate of the past seven days is 5.1% and 548,466 tests were administered. The total number of tests administered is 2,601,798, and 41,669 COVID-19 patients have recovered.
The department reported there have been 416 total deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of Friday afternoon, the department reported 495,800 residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 83% of residents age 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Vaccination efforts, significantly expanding access to at-home testing, exporting Vermont’s ‘Test to Stay’ program across the country to keep kids in school, and other initiatives outlined today are how we’ll continue moving from pandemic to endemic management of this virus,” Scott said. “The President’s focus and commitment is appreciated. My team and I look forward to our continued work with him and his Administration to make progress, keep Americans safe, the economy open and our country moving forward.”