News summary: 6 more people have died from COVID-19, as Vermont sets single-day record for new COVID-19 cases
Vermont reporters are providing a summary of key takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Thursday, November 4.
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1. Vermont Sets New One-Day Record for New COVID-19 Cases
Vermont saw nearly 500 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, shattering past peaks of the pandemic for new cases in a single day.
A total of 487 cases have been reported by the health department, along with six other virus-related deaths, bringing the number of deaths from the virus in the state to 380 people.
The record numbers come as the state processed more than 18,000 PCR tests for the coronavirus yesterday, far more than the roughly 10,000 tests per day in recent months.
The state’s positivity rate – the number of new tests that come back positive – rose to 3.2%.
On Thursday, 55 people are hospitalized because of the virus.
Just under 91% of Vermonters aged 12 and over are now at least partially vaccinated.
– Matthew Smith
2. Open registration for health insurance on Vermont Health Connect opens Monday
Open enrollment for health insurance plans sold on Vermont Health Connect began Monday.
Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said residents of Vermont could be eligible for a significant discount on their 2022 health premiums.
“This year, many Vermonters will be able to purchase health insurance at a significantly lower cost due to increased federal grants through the American Rescue Plan,” Smith said.
The federal COVID-19 relief bill has doubled the grants available to Vermonters who purchase plans through the state’s insurance exchange.
And Smith says Vermonters who were not eligible for grants in 2021 may be eligible for substantial aid in 2022.
– Peter Hirschfeld
3. Governor Scott Responds to Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson’s Confirmation to Second Circuit Court of Appeals
Governor Phil Scott says he is pleased that the US Senate has upheld the appointment of Vermont Supreme Court Judge Beth Robinson to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Robinson will be the first openly LGBTQ woman to sit on a federal appeals court.
All 50 Senate Democrats voted for her, but only one Republican did – Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Scott said Robinson enjoys strong Republican support in Vermont.
“We’ve seen her in action here in Vermont for a number of years and we have a lot of confidence in her and I think it was a big step forward,” Scott said. “I think they will see in the future that she is a great choice for a federal judge.”
Scott will now fill the vacant position on the Vermont Supreme Court.
– Bob kinzel
4. Recent report to lawmakers calls for further study on whether Vermont should grant immunity to those who report sexual violence
A recent report to lawmakers reveals that more time is needed to consider whether state law needs to be changed – to protect survivors of sexual violence from prosecution for drug or alcohol-related offenses that could have taken place during an assault.
Vermont does not have a law granting immunity to report sexual violence. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut all recently passed statutes granting immunity.
Last year, lawmakers set up a task force to look into the matter, and the committee’s report says they need a little more time before making recommendations.
The committee collected data from all sixteen colleges in the state, and while some schools have their own victim protection policies, there is no consistent statewide policy.
The committee says that if there are any proposed changes, they will probably not be adopted for a year.
– Howard Weiss Tisman
5. Vermont Cannabis Control Board calls for financial incentives to encourage owners to accept cannabis at retail
The Vermont Cannabis Control Board is urging lawmakers to provide new financial incentives to cities to encourage them to accept a cannabis retail store in their communities.
Currently, voters in about two dozen cities have agreed to allow pottery shops, and others are expected to consider the matter on the day of the city’s meeting in March.
Board member Julie Hulburd said cities could face unforeseen expenses by having a retail store. She would like to see a portion of the state’s cannabis excise tax shared with communities to help.
“And it allows local governments to cover their costs associated with retail stores within their borders, and it can encourage municipalities to choose to allow retailers to enter their borders,” Hulburd said.
The Legislature will consider this proposal as part of its comprehensive review of cannabis issues in January.
– Bob kinzel
6. Rutland’s promise to open a temporary single-family shelter
Rutland does not have a homeless shelter for families, but starting November 1, volunteers from a group called Rutland’s Promise will use a three-bedroom apartment in the city to temporarily house one family at a time.
The group signed a one-year lease on the apartment.
Rebekah Stevens leads the group. She says the shelter is the result of comments she’s heard from the community.
“One of the things that really struck me was that families kept saying that if they had had a safe, permanent and stable place for 60 days, they could have recovered much faster.” , Stevens said.
Stevens says two dozen volunteers will act as mentors, helping with employment, education and life skills.
Thomas Barry sits on the group’s board of directors and was homeless himself several years ago.
“So I know from personal experience what it feels like to feel the fear, the helplessness, the hopelessness, this disparity and I just want to help people who are in the same position,” Barry said.
To be eligible, families must have lived in Rutland for at least three months and experienced housing insecurity for the first time in three years.
Qualified families will be referred by school counselors and local aid agencies and will be accommodated for two months.
Stevens says the group has an annual budget of $ 60,000 funded by donations and grants.
– Nina Keck
7. Lyme disease is on the rise in Vermont
Lyme disease is increasingly common in Vermont.
The health ministry says the number of annual cases in the early 2000s was several dozen, but more recently the state sees between 500 and 1,000 cases per year.
Dr Natalie Kwit, public health veterinarian at the Department of Health, said Vermont Edition there could be a number of reasons for the increase.
“It could be that awareness in the medical community and testing has increased. In addition, there are ecological factors that we believe are at play,” said Dr Kwit.
She says climate change is widening the range of ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
Listen to the entire conversation.
– Marlon Hyde
Abagael Giles compiled and edited this article.
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