UPDATE: State announces 4 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 12

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By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

UPDATE MARCH 16 1:45 P.M.

The Vermont Department of Health Laboratory reported another four cases of the new coronavirus COVID-19. All are Vermont residents. To date, the lab has reported eight positive cases among Vermonters, and four cases among people not from Vermont.

These Vermont lab results are considered confirmed.

  • A woman in her 60s, from Bennington County, is hospitalized at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.
  • A man in his 60s, of Orange County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A woman in her 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A man in his 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.

The Health Department’s contact tracing team has been working to investigate the patients’ travel history and related community activities, and to identify anyone in Vermont who may have been in close contact with the patients. They will be assessed for their exposure risk and provided with guidance for their health and recommendations for self-isolation or other restrictions.

Please go to healthvermont.gov/covid19 for the most up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19, including from the CDC.

Who to call for help or information:

  • If you have questions about COVID-19: Dial 2-1-1
  • If you are returning from Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Iran or South Korea:
    Call Health Department Epidemiology at 802-863-7240.
  • If you are sick or concerned about your health: Contact your health care provider by phone. Do not go to the hospital, except in a life-threatening situation. Do not call the Health Department.

Person-to-person spread of the virus occurs mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Take these everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

During a press conference today, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine announced that the number of people in Vermont who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus went from eight to 12 over the weekend.

He noted that there were two positives on Friday from a total of 140 people tested and by today, that 415 people had been tested yielding 10 positives. Levine said that three of the latest four cases were transmitted person to person in the community. No other information about the cases was given or could be ascertained by publication time.

The press conference had called in Montpelier to explain Gov. Phil Scott’s school closure order and to answer questions about it.  In opening remarks regarding the closing, Levine said that three days ago “we were not there yet” and referred to a “data-driven” conclusion to close.

Also Scott beefed up an executive order on the size of public gatherings by reducing the number to 50 people or 50 percent of the occupancy of a gathering place – whichever is lower.  He also noted that to limit person-to-person contact with state workers, there will be automatic 90-day extensions on driver’s licenses and auto registrations.

The Telegraph asked if there was thought being given to what to do about the state subsidy for child care (which is paid directly to approved providers) if the providers have to close. Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said he has a team working on such issues and would have an answer in 24 to 36 hours.

We will have more on this story later in the day when we have an update from the Health Department.

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