WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again lists Windsor County among places with “high” community levels of COVID-19, where it recommends people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status or their individual level of risk.
The agency updates its community level rankings weekly on Thursdays. The Upper Valley’s other three counties, Orange County in Vermont and Grafton and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire, have “medium” levels of COVID-19 as measured by case counts and COVID-19-related hospitalizations, according to a map on the CDC’s website.
At “medium” or “low” levels, the CDC doesn’t recommend masks for most people, although it urges individuals at risk of developing serious symptoms to consult their health care provider about continuing to wear masks in certain settings.
The change in Windsor County comes as most Upper Valley schools, municipalities and businesses have stopped requiring masks. State officials in Vermont and New Hampshire have stopped recommending masks, leaving it up to individuals to decide whether or not to wear them.
It also comes as case counts and hospital admissions in Vermont ticked upward this week and as the more-transmissible omicron BA.2 subvariant makes up about 50% of cases in the Northeast, according to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation’s weekly modeling report issued Tuesday. Though cases were up, they were still 90% below the peak of omicron in January, the report said.
As of Tuesday, there were two ongoing outbreaks in Windsor County long-term care facilities. One at Springfield Rivers Nursing & Rehab included 52 cases, and another at the Willows of Windsor included 24.
In the past two weeks, Windsor County has had 207 new COVID cases, for a rate of 374 per 100,000 people, according to the Vermont Department of Health’s dashboard. Orange County has had 82, for a rate of 283 per 100,000 people.
Grafton County has had 222 new cases in the past two weeks, for a rate of 247 per 100,000 people. Sullivan County has had 75 new cases in the past two weeks, for a rate of 174 per 100,000 people.
Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3213.