Citing ‘exponential growth’ in Covid-19 cases, Gov. Scott tightens stay home order 28 new cases brings total to 123 as another patient dies

This chart shows the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases as well as the new cases each day.  Vermont Department of Health

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Just eyeballing this, everyone can see this does not represent linear growth,” said Dr. Mark Levine, pointing to a bar graph that showed cumulative and new cases of Covid-19 from March 7 through March 24. Levine, Vermont’s commissioner of health, was speaking at a press conference Wednesday morning.

“This is termed exponential growth and we don’t yet know what the days to come will hold but we can anticipate everything will get higher.”

Levine noted that only two weeks ago, there was only one case of the coronavirus strain in Vermont but that 28 new cases have been identified since Tuesday bringing the total to 123. He also said the number of people in Vermont dying from the disease has risen to eight, of whom six came from Burlington Health and Rehab where a large number of residents plus some staff have been infected.

While Levine termed those who died at the rehabilitation facility as “very medically complex,” he also said that younger people are not immune even though most in the 20-to-40 age group in Vermont develop fairly mild cases.

Gov. Phil Scott said he was strengthening his “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” order, requiring everyone but essential workers to stay home, saying that doing so would save lives. Noting that every action taken was absolutely necessary based on the best science, Scott said that as of 5 p.m. today the following would be in effect:

  • The state is suspending all in-person business operations with some exceptions (grocery stores and pharmacies for example) and businesses may make a case for being excepted from this by filing a form with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development;
  • Anyone who can work from home, must do so;
  • Amtrak trains will cease operation in Vermont;
  • VAST will close its trail network for the season.

Noting that three medical surge sites had been set up in the northern part of the state, The Telegraph asked what was being done about southern counties’ surge capacity. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling said that he had no specifics for southern Vermont but that the administration is working with hospitals and the hospital association on a multi-layered plan over the next few weeks.

Schirling said that it is the clinical recommendation of the physicians in the hospitals that guides the planning. While Schirling was vague on the details of the surge sites in the south, Scott noted that with the “other eight sites we’ve identified, we will meet the capacity that we need.” The Telegraph has asked for clarification on this and will update this story when there is more information.

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith noted that there are 575 hospital beds in the state, 163 ventilators with 202 more expected, 78,000 M95 masks and 88,000 surgical masks. But, he added, the state would need to double those numbers to deal with the projected surge.

Levine said that the larger sample of Covid-19 cases gives the Health Department more to work with in modeling the progress of the disease, but that there is still a lot uncertainty in determining when the peak would occur, which he said could be a couple of weeks or as far as five weeks or even more away.

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  1. Hi Lee
    We plan to put that up every day along with the county numbers in the map. We can link it but the link is to the chart and map. You can go directly to that page using this url:

    Then click on COVID-19 Activity Map and Chart

  2. Lee says:

    Would you be able to add a link to the state website with the graph? It would be interesting to see it every day to track the spread. Thanks! You are doing a great job!