Gov. Scott calls for more strict mandates as Covid numbers rise in Vermont Bars must close; restaurants can stay open at 50% capacity

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With 84 new Covid-19 cases reported today, a weekly case count that far outstrips any previous tally, and more than 80 “situations” and 17 outbreaks being investigated by the Vermont Department of Health, Gov. Phil Scott has called for new strict mandates for Vermonters, including a ban on all multi-household gatherings, the shut-down of all bars and social clubs and the suspension of all recreational youth and adult leagues. Scott will also sign an order today to extend the state of emergency for another month.

Restrictions on multi-household gatherings include those both inside and outside, in public spaces or in private homes. According to Scott, this new restriction is data driven since “many of our clusters and outbreaks are tracing back to private social gatherings like baby showers, tailgate parties, deer camps and other small gatherings…”

According to state Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, since Oct. 1, 71 percent of new Covid-19 cases are associated with private parties or small social gatherings.

As of 10 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 14, bars and social clubs must close. Restaurants can remain open at the current 50 percent capacity but also must close by 10 p.m. with only one household per table. And take-out service can continue longer. Restaurants, museums, gyms and other establishments must keep daily logs for contact tracing.

Organized sports leagues for both youth and adults have been paused, including bowling leagues. School sports, adhering to previous Agency of Education guidelines, may continue.

Returning college students must quarantine for 14 days, or seven days after a negative test result.

All Vermonters are directed to comply with all contact tracing efforts including answering calls, as well as providing complete and truthful information.

All businesses, including non-profits and municipalities, must revert to teleworking when possible. All meetings should also be handled remotely.

The full details of the Scott’s executive order can be seen here.

The VDH reported one new death last Saturday, and an astounding 417 new Covid-19 cases this week, including three days in a row with daily numbers that surpassed the previous daily record set in April, with 72 cases on Wednesday, 109 on Thursday and 84 on Friday. The weekly total soared by 246, up from the 171 cases reported last week, for a grand total of 2,743. The total positive case numbers are based on data published on the VDH daily dashboard tracking cases reported during the span from Friday, Nov. 6 to Friday, Nov. 13.

This new fatality brings the total number of Vermont deaths due to Covid-19 to 59. Though no other specifics were released, the individual was over the age of 80, according to information gleaned from the data dashboard.

Hospitalizations saw a marked increase jumping from three to 21, with three patients being in the ICU. The “hospitalization under investigation” went from one to three.

Numbers in the latter part of this week surpassed the predictive modeling expectations reported by Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, during Tuesday’s press briefing, where he indicated the state was anticipating between 40 and 60 cases per day over the next several weeks, only to be eclipsed in the following three days. Not surprisingly, Vermont’s positivity rate also increased from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent.

Levine did not give specific numbers for the more than 80 situations and 17 outbreaks the VDH was following, but during the Friday, Nov. 13 press briefing, Scott mentioned the Montpelier ice hockey outbreak numbers had surpassed 150, which includes the 76 cases reported at St. Michael’s College during Tuesday’s press briefing. Specifics on an outbreak reported earlier this week at the Rutland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center stands at 19 positive cases, with four residents being hospitalized.

In K-12 schools throughout Vermont, there are 18 new cases, with 64 total Covid cases reported as of Wednesday, Nov. 11, on the VDH School Based Covid-19 Transmission document. Keeping schools open for in-person instruction remains a priority for the state. according to Levine on Friday. The Two Rivers Supervisory Union announced plans to switch to remote-only learning from Thanksgiving break through Jan. 11.

Vermont colleges and universities added 22 cases this week. According to Pieciak, of the 89 cases reported over the last three weeks, 84 percent are from the St. Michael’s outbreak.

Statewide testing of unique individuals is reported at 5,879 tests this week, according to the data dashboard. Overall testing numbers this week hovered around 21,000 according to the state’s weekly update document. This larger number includes second and third tests for some people.

Washington County supplanted Chittenden County as the weekly case leader this week with 128 new positive cases, going from 150 to 278. Chittenden County saw an increase of 74 cases this week, now totaling 1,159. Orange County saw the third highest new case total adding 40, and leapfrogging from 43 to 83 cases. Rutland County saw 21 new cases, going from 139 to 160. Windsor County added 18 cases, for a total of 149 and Windham County gained 13 new cases this week, for a total of 169.

Contacts Monitored, which includes close contacts of people who have already tested positive, increased from 175 to 241. Travelers being monitored, which includes those participating in the Sara Alert system, was down this week, going from 236 to 222.

The pop-up Covid-19 testing schedule has listed two new dates in Springfield, on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and Monday, Nov. 23. The testing location in Springfield has changed to Springfield Riverside Plaza, at 256 River St. Click on this link to check for other testing sites. This site has recently added a link to sign up to be notified of future testing dates in the area of your choice.

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

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