COVID Testing Program for Vermont Schools Expected to Begin Soon
MONTPELIER, Vermont (AP) – A school-based COVID-19 testing program designed to keep children in school after coming into contact with someone with the disease is expected to be ready within the next two weeks, said Tuesday officials.
Education Secretary Daniel French told the state’s weekly COVID-19 briefing that logistics for the Test to Stay rapid testing program were being worked out.
Once it is in place, after an unvaccinated person who has no symptoms comes in close contact with a person with COVID-19 who has no symptoms, they can undergo a rapid antigen test beforehand. school. If the test is negative, they can go to school. They should be tested for up to seven days after their last exposure to the positive case.
Currently, close contacts of people with COVID-19 must be quarantined outside of school. The child misses a day of education and this creates challenges for parents who have to take care of their children.
“Every antigen test that comes back negative is a day of quarantine avoided,” French said.
The Education Agency is also working on a program to provide schools with PCR test kits that can be kept in schools and returned home for people with symptoms of COVID-19.
French says he expects different schools to implement the programs differently.
“Our challenge will be to help schools set up testing programs while they are doing everything else at the same time,” French said. “The main bottleneck for the implementation of the tests will be staffing.”
Most sectors of the Vermont economy are already facing a labor shortage.
French said school nurses will be able to see student immunization records, which should speed up school decisions about finding cases. State guidelines allow schools to stop contact tracing once the school has a student immunization rate of around 80%. Currently, only students aged 12 and over are eligible for the vaccine.
“We have a lot of logistical issues to solve, whether it’s staffing, etc.,” French said. “But I can’t help but think that this will be the solution that really strikes the right balance between keeping children safe but also keeping children in school and their education progressing, so we have to work hard to understand. these things. . ”
Statistics collected by the state show that over the past seven days, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the state has declined by 15%. In the last 14 days, they have decreased by 23%.
Vermont statistics reflect a reduced number of cases in many parts of the country.
“Fortunately, we’re also starting to see some improvement in the region, and especially here in Vermont,” said Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who oversaw COVID-19 statistics for the state.
Hospitalizations for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not both have declined over the past week.
Over the past week, 69% of hospitalizations were among the unvaccinated. But during that same period, 100% of people treated for COVID-19 in state intensive care units were not fully immunized.
The Vermont Department of Health reported 91 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to more than 34,500.
There were 37 people hospitalized, including 13 in intensive care.
The state has reported a total of 323 deaths from COVID-19.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in Vermont has not increased over the past two weeks, going from 214.29 on September 19 to 168.57 on October 3.
The seven-day moving average of daily deaths in Vermont has increased over the past two weeks, from 1.43 on September 19 to 1.86 on October 3.
The Associated Press uses data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure the number of cases and deaths related to epidemics in the United States.