Figures released by the state Friday, Dec. 4, show that COVID-19 cases continued to rise at a fast pace in Central Vermont over the two-week period from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2.
At 302 cases, Barre has the highest number of cumulative cases in the region and second-highest in the state, with 100 cases added in the latest two-week period, a 50-percent increase. However, the two-week increase was smaller than in the prior two-week period, when Barre added 163 cases. (See town-by-town numbers in table below.)
Other cities and towns in Central Vermont with big increases in the latest reporting period included Northfield, up 32 cases to 81 cumulative cases, and Williamstown, which added 25 cases, to 53.
Montpelier registered 22 new cases in the two-week period ending Dec. 2, a 49-percent increase, rising from 45 cumulative cases to 67.
The largest percentage increase in the region came in Randolph, where cases jumped 121 percent to a total of 42. Plainfield has registered 26 cases, an 86-percent increase, and it now has one of the two highest per capita rates of infection in the region, along with Barre, according to the state.
Town-by-town figures are released by the state each Friday, usually for a one-week period ending the prior Wednesday. However, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the latest state figures cover a two-week period. The Bridge calculated the changes by comparing data from Nov. 18 with the data as of Dec. 2.
The state figures only give exact numbers for towns that have more than five cases. Two local towns that had five or fewer cases on Nov. 18 but now exceed that number are Moretown (13 cases as of Wednesday) and Orange (10).
After a relatively quiet summer, COVID cases began to rise again in Vermont this fall, with Washington County leading the way following a virus outbreak among those who play hockey and broomball in Montpelier. The state also reported Friday that Washington County has had 197 new cases over the past 14 days.
The number of statewide cases reported by the state on Dec. 3 was 178, a record. That number dropped to 73 today. Some experts have said there may be as many as two to four times as many cases in a community as turn up in testing results.
As virus cases surge in Vermont and across the nation, state officials continue to urge Vermonters to wear masks, wash their hands often, and avoid social gatherings.
The first few thousand doses of a coronavirus vaccine are expected to be shipped to the state later this month, but the vaccine is not likely to be widely available until next spring or summer, according to Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.