Scott frees towns to control gatherings, curfews Vermont leads states with lowest per capital Covid-19 cases

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The Vermont Department of Health reported 17 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, bringing the weekly total to 53 this week, nearly twice the weekly increase from last week, for a total of 1,501 total cases statewide.

These numbers are based on data published on the state Health Department on its daily dashboard, tracking cases reported  from Friday, Aug. 7 to Friday, Aug. 14. There were no new deaths reported this week. That number is holding at 58, with two deaths reported since June 18.

During the Friday, Aug. 14 press conference, Gov. Phil Scott acknowledged the upcoming influx of out-of-state college students to Vermont campuses and announced that he is allowing for municipalities to adjust their local regulations including limiting the size of gatherings and instituting curfews on bars and clubs, in an effort to help limit community transmission of the coronavirus, particularly in college towns. Scott also extended the state of emergency in Vermont for another month, through Sept. 15.

Dr. Mark Levine, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, was questioned about the high daily increase, and was asked whether this number was a reflection of returning college students, a point of discussion as Vermont prepares for a return to in-person college and university instruction for the fall semester. According to Levine, although more than half of the positive cases (11 of 17) are from Chittenden County, it doesn’t look like there is a concentration in the college age range and so he did not see a specific relationship between the two.

Although the increase from last week’s new case total may jump out for a one-week snapshot, weekly numbers have fluctuated between the mid-20s to the low-50s over the last several months as part of a steady overall pattern. Department of Financial Relations Commissioner Michael Pieciak, who does the overall predictive modeling for Vermont, said the state’s trend has remained “stable and low.” Piechiak did note during Friday’s press conference that his model is predicting a slight uptick in cases over the next few weeks as Vermont’s “robust” testing requirements for incoming college students goes into effect.

Vermont leads country with lowest per capita cases

Overall for Vermont, the news is good. Vermont continues to lead the nation in low coronavirus numbers with the lowest case total in the United States and, now, with the lowest per capita case total in the country as well.

Levine announced that as of Wednesday, Aug. 12, the long-tracked Winooski outbreak is officially at an end, with two full incubation periods having passed without showing any new cases. He pointed to the Winooski outbreak, which had a total of 117 cases, as a success story and a good example of how to manage outbreaks in the future.

The number of  People Tested this past week totaled 6,455, with a daily average of 922, trending just shy of the state’s testing goal of 1,000 per day.

As for Covid-19 positives, Chittenden County continues to lead the state in new cases with an increase of 25, nearly half of the state’s weekly total. Windham County gained three cases this week, and now stands at 105. Windsor County reported two new cases, totaling 74.

Hospitalized patients have increased by one, with just two people currently hospitalized with the virus. The “hospitalization under investigation” number has increased from five to 11.

Contacts Monitored, which includes close contacts of people who have already tested positive, is holding steady, down 1, from 30 to 29. Travelers being monitored, which includes those participating in the Sara Alert system, has dropped slightly from 1,004 to 943.

The pop-up Covid-19 testing schedule for Springfield includes a date on Aug. 18 at the Springfield UU Meetinghouse location on Fairground Road. No dates beyond Aug. 20 are currently posted for any pop-up sites but are added regularly. To schedule a test, click on this link and scroll down to the appropriate date.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development updated Vermont’s cross-state travel information map on Friday, Aug.14. This map identifies the surrounding counties throughout the Northeast that 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 and is updated weekly. Eligible travel counties have increased this week, adding approximately 700,000 possible quarantine-free travelers for a total of 5.9 million possible travelers to Vermont. The increases were largely from nearby counties in New Hampshire, Maine and upstate New York. Click this link to see the latest updates to this interactive county map.

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

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