MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Vermont leaders are preparing for a surge in COVID cases. Thirty FEMA paramedics have been deployed to the Green Mountain State to brace for the surge and to help with fallout from the omicron variant.
Currently, Vermont is one of few states seeing a drop in COVID cases, and hospitalizations are down 23% this week. Despite the good news, Gov. Phil Scott warns that—between holiday gatherings and the omicron variant—the reprieve isn’t expected to last long.
“Vermonters have faced challenges head-on and you’ve done it better than anyone else, but now we’re about to face another challenge,” Scott said.
President Joe Biden has sent a few dozen first responders to Vermont to help relieve some of the pressure on staff and hospitals. Twenty paramedics will serve at the University of Vermont Medical Center and the other 10 will serve at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. The paramedics will be here for a few weeks and then reassessed based on Vermont numbers.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said, “Omicron is here and likely has been for several weeks. You will see more people who have been vaccinated, possibly people who have been vaccinated and boosted test positive for omicron so you should all understand that.”
The omicron variant has become the most dominant strain in just a matter of weeks and state leaders say it’s the responsibility of Vermonters to find out if their loved ones are vaccinated and boosted before gathering for the holidays. They also advise getting tested before and after celebrations.
AHS Secretary Mike Smith commented, “by taking some common-sense measures like vaccinate, boost, test, mask, and I’ll add one other, ask, we can control how high the case spike will be.”
Testing capacity remains a challenge as the Scott administration promotes rapid testing as a solution for the future. Nationwide, the President says half a billion at-home tests will be sent to Americans.