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Vermont sees the biggest surge in COVID cases despite having the country’s highest vaccination rate

August 12, 2021, 9:00 PM UTC

Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country and is outpacing the national vaccination rate, even as COVID-19 cases have spiked in the state in recent weeks.

Cases in the state rose 245% in the past two weeks, according to a Fortune analysis of New York Times data, the highest increase in the country over that period, as the Delta variant spreads. Despite the increase in cases, many residents of the New England state have been protected by vaccines. Vermont has the highest vaccination rate of any state, with 68% of its population fully vaccinated, almost 20 percentage points higher than the 50% of Americans that have been fully vaccinated in total, according to New York Times data.

Because of this, COVID cases in Vermont have been relatively low, and the surge is coming from a lower starting point than many other areas of the country. The state still is among those with the lowest cases per capita (13 per 100,000 people, compared with 120 in Louisiana and 93 in Florida, two of the states with the highest rates of infection).

The surge in cases comes as the Delta variant continues to spread among the unvaccinated. Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said the Delta variant was found in an estimated 90% of recent COVID samples tested in the state.

To continue to boost vaccinations, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that the state will mandate COVID vaccines for some state employees in veterans’ homes, correctional facilities, and psychiatric hospitals.

Gov. Scott said he expects COVID cases to rise over the coming weeks. In a tweet, the governor urged eligible residents to get vaccinated, saying that the Delta variant will spread in the 85,000 eligible but unvaccinated residents of Vermont.

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