Last week the Northeast Kingdom recorded an additional COVID-19 death while new cases continue their downward trend. The latest fatality was of an Orleans County resident on Feb. 7, the 33rd for the county and 59th for the NEK — with 3 in Essex and 23 in Caledonia. Over the last 90 days, deaths continued to be primarily among those over 70-years-old, and at nearly 10 times the per capita rate among unvaccinated versus vaccinated people. Vermont officials have said that the trend in deaths, which has maintained a fairly steady rate through the winter, typically lags a shift in case counts, as serious illness takes time to develop. State officials have also said many of the deaths in January were likely caused by the Delta variant, which remained the dominant variant through mid-December. Recent cases in the NEK, though, have shown signs of easing. The official state report says daily new cases have dropped from about 100 per day in mid-January to about 20 per day in recent days.
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