Washington County, along with much of the rest of Vermont, is in the midst of a third — and to date the largest — wave of COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Vermont Health Department data. Statewide, the highest single-day case count to date came on Thursday, Nov. 11: 591 new cases, of which 39 were reported in Washington County. The weekend reports saw a gradual decline in cases, with 298 new cases statewide and 19 new cases in Washington County on Sunday, Nov. 14. The single day for the largest number of new cases in Washington County came on Nov. 6, when 51 new cases were reported. The surge comes at a moment when many legislators are encouraging Gov. Phil Scott to re-instate a mask mandate indoors, which the governor has so far indicated he believes will be ineffective. Locally, the Montpelier Police Department reported a situation in which a customer refused to comply with a mask mandate required for both employees and customers at the Hunger Mountain Co-op.Like the rest of Vermont, the 18–29-year-old age group in Washington County currently has the highest number of cases to date — and a lower rate of vaccination (63 percent) than the average for eligible adults (94 percent). Even the 12–17-year-old group, which was not approved for vaccination until Dec. 2020, has an 84 percent vaccination rate in Washington County. The Vermont Department of Health encourages the 18–29-year-old age group to get vaccinated. “The Delta variant is highly contagious and doesn’t discriminate based on age,” officials said Friday. It’s notable that the health department shows Washington County with the highest rate (36 percent) of adults 18 years and older who have also received the booster shot made available this fall. The statewide average is 27 percent. Vaccination for the ages 5–11 began just last week; 14 percent of eligible children in Washington County had received a first shot as of Sunday, Nov. 14. The statewide rate of vaccination for that age group was at 11 percent but is expected to climb quickly. As of Nov. 8, Montpelier and Roxbury schools had experienced no new cases in the previous seven days; Barre Elementary School and Barre Town Elementary each had four cases; while Spaulding High School had a single case. U-32 Middle and High School had a single case. There were two cases at Berlin Elementary, but none at the other elementary schools in the Washington Central district; Northfield Elementary had a single case and Northfield High School had four cases. The Vermont Department of Health data is updated daily by 12:00 p.m., with occasional exceptions for holidays. Go to healthvermont.gov/covid-19 for the latest information.