Testing dips over holiday week; gathering ban back in place

Vermont reported 78 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, in line with the new normal of cases in the previous weeks, as the state moves on from the holidays and a temporary lifting of Covid restrictions.

Cases fluctuated in late December, including one day, Dec. 31, when the state recorded 182 cases, the second-highest single-day record of Covid cases. The record: 228 cases on Dec. 2.

However, that record was set after the Thanksgiving weekend and officials said it was partly due to testing and reporting delays. It’s unclear how those delays may have contributed to the total on Dec. 31.

Testing dipped around Christmas and rose again just prior to New Year’s Day, a sign that the rise in cases around that time could be tied to an increase in tests. The state also skipped K-12 staff testing in the last week of December due to schools’ winter break.

Gov. Phil Scott lifted a multi-household gathering ban through the holidays, allowing Vermonters to meet with one other trusted household, but that ban is now back in place.

As of Monday, Vermonters were not allowed to hold multi-household gatherings except for outdoor, masked gatherings with one other household. People in unsafe situations may also move to another household, and people who live alone may socialize with a single other household.

Scott said he wants to see the effects of the temporary easing in the restrictions before he considers a more permanent turn of the spigot, an analogy he uses to indicate incremental loosening of restrictions. 

Cases from Dec. 25 may already be starting to crop up in the data, since they tend to begin appearing after seven to 10 days. But the full effects of the holidays won’t be clear until roughly mid-January.

Read More: Testing dips over holiday week; gathering ban back in place

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