Vermont reports 38 new Covid-19 cases in week Drive-in fireworks displays to be allowed as guidelines change

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The Vermont Department of Health confirmed nine new Covid-19 cases on Friday, for an increase of 38 cases this week, which is trending down from last week’s addition of 54. The total number of cases in Vermont now stands at 1,236 with no new deaths reported. Total deaths in Vermont have stood at 56 since June 18.

Of the 38 new cases, 28  are from Chittenden County and Franklin County reporting 21 and seven respectively. During Monday’s press conference, Vermont Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said that the cluster identified in a worksite in Fair Haven had been undergoing extensive testing within that work location and in the surrounding community and that efforts to contain the virus have been successful. Indeed, Rutland County had an increase of only one during the past week. Windham County saw an increase of four cases and now totals 97. Windsor County reported just one new case, totaling 59.

According to the Department of Health, a total of 68,395 people have been tested in Vermont to date. In Wednesday’s press conference, Levine touted Vermont’s aggressive testing efforts, claiming a rolling seven-day average of 1,245 tests, with over 8,700 total tests done in the past seven days.

According to the state’s Data Dashboard, which is updated daily on the Health Department website, the testing numbers from last Friday to Friday of this week total 6,806, with a daily average of 972, somewhat shy of that claim. The number of tests from Wednesday, June 24 to Wednesday July 1, the day of the press conference, totaled just 6,432, a daily average of 919. Tuesday June 23 to Tuesday June 30 showed 6,436 tests, also a daily average of 919.

Levine did report that according to a new analysis by researchers at Harvard for National Public Radio, Vermont was one of only four states doing enough testing for suppression of the coronavirus. The other three states mentioned were Alaska, Montana and Hawaii. Click here to see that study. Based on the study, Vermont needs to achieve a daily average of 825 tests for suppression of the virus, which Vermont is easily achieving even with numbers that fall short of Levine’s assertion.

Just one patient is currently hospitalized with the virus, down by three this week. Those in the hospital who are suspected of having the illness has increased by five, and now stands at 15.

The Data Dashboard has now changed the way it shows people being monitored in the state, breaking the number into two categories: Travelers Monitored and Contacts Monitored. Travelers Monitored includes travelers that are being monitored in Sara Alert, a service that provides 14-day free symptom reminders while they are quarantining in Vermont. Contacts Monitored includes close contacts of people who have already tested positive. There are currently 48 contacts being monitored and 1,645 travelers being monitored.

Pop-up Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield has been announced for the upcoming four Tuesdays on June 30, July 14, July 21 and July 28. To schedule a test, click on this link and scroll down to the appropriate date.

As of Wednesday, July 1, many surrounding counties throughout the Northeast can now freely travel to Vermont without quarantine including counties in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. This is a county-by-county list for those areas that have less than 400 active Covid-19 cases per million residents. The county list was updated on Thursday of this week but includes no newly added states, however there may be some counties that have changed their eligibility status. Click this link to see the latest updates to this interactive county map.

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development updated its Drive-In Operation guidance recently   to make clear that firework displays can move forward if they are drive-in viewing events. According to the guidelines (Scroll down to 5.2), vehicles must be spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart, people should stay in or near their vehicles to prevent interaction with other parties, and no gathering of more than 25 people are permitted outside of vehicles. However according to guidelines that went into effect last week, outdoor organized events now allow gatherings up to 150 people (1 person per 100 square feet of space).

Chester has a fireworks display happening on Friday, July 3 sponsored by the Chester American Legion Post #67. Ludlow has a July 4 fireworks display scheduled, sponsored by Imerys Talc.

The state will now be limiting their weekly press conferences to two per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m.

For more state-wide details on Covid-19 information and resources, click here.

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