Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported today that since Friday there were eight new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 927 cases statewide. There were no new deaths, which held at 53. There has not been a new death since Thursday’s report. Total hospitalized for COVID-19 or under investigation increased by six to 21 total. The number officially recovered is up 40 to 777. The total tested is 20,048.
The path to restart Vermont
Governor Phil Scott announced Friday that child care centers can reopen June 1 and summer day camps will be able to open this summer, provided they can follow safety guidelines expected to be issued next week. State officials acknowledged opening child care programs will be an important part of ensuring Vermonters can get back to work, as modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of COVID-19.
The coronavirus is spreading much slower in Vermont than in any state in the Northeast (see graph above). This week, New Hampshire’s rate increased from cases doubling every three weeks to every two weeks. Meanwhile, cases in Vermont are doubling every 12 weeks, which is among the slowest rates in the nation.
The state also hopes to have over-night camps available this summer. At this point they are working on protocols that would allow out-of-state campers to come to the state. As for all other activities, like for the newly reopened golf courses, out-of-staters are not welcome yet. And anyone coming into the state for any reason must self-quarantine for 14 days. So far, this has not been enforced.
Also today, the Labor Department said about 8,400 individuals did not receive their PUA unemployment benefits this week. They will be paid next week. This is due to an issue with payments, as some claimants were errantly receiving more than their calculated benefit, causing them to go into overpayment. The update will correct the issue and going forward will ensure that benefit amounts are accurate.
Education officials also provided guidance on end-of-the-year gatherings. Large gatherings will not be permitted through the end of the school year, and events should be virtual. Schools are encouraged to plan creatively with their communities for opportunities to celebrate milestones and graduations in ways that are safe and supportive of students and their achievements.
All traditional high school graduations are therefore canceled. All end of year gatherings and graduations shall be designed to ensure equal access and participation by all affected students.
Governor Phil Scott announced Wednesday that Vermonters can participate in outdoor recreation and limited social interactions under strict health and safety precautions, as state modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of COVID-19. Read the Governor’s press release.
- Gatherings of 10 or fewer. Vermonters may now leave home for outdoor recreation and fitness activities with low or no direct physical contact and to resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings that allow for greater physical distancing.
- Inter-household socializing. Members of one household may gather – and allow children to play – with members of another trusted household, provided health and safety precautions are followed as much as possible.
The Governor’s order, Addendum 13, includes additional health and safety guidelines for these interactions, including following safety and hygiene protocols, limiting non-essential travel, and protecting those in at-risk categories, who should continue to stay home.
Read the Health Department’s guidelines on how to weigh the risks and connect with family and friends safely.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said at Wednesday’s press conference that as the state reopens, Vermonters should consider keeping a contact journal – a list of other people who you have been in close contact with each day. If you did get sick, this would make it easier to get in touch with those people and so they can take proper precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
As we begin to enjoy the outdoors in Vermont, remember to take the usual precautions to stay safe and healthy. Ticks are out, so make sure you know how to Be Tick Smart: healthvermont.gov/BeTickSmart .
For more outdoors information, visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19
Governor Phil Scott on Monday announced that limited elective medical procedures could resume. These procedures had been put on hold as Vermont’s health care system focused on preparing for, and responding to, COVID-19.
The Governor’s decision comes as state modeling continues to show spread of COVID-19 has slowed – thanks to Vermonters’ physical distancing efforts – and the state’s ability to track and trace outbreaks of COVID-19 has become more robust.
Health care providers that meet specific criteria to protect patients and clinicians from possible infection, can begin non-essential outpatient clinic visits, diagnostic imaging and outpatient surgeries and procedures.
Some examples include:
- A process to screen patients, staff and essential visitors for COVID-19-related symptoms
- Staff must use protective equipment and supplies, and patients and companions must wear mouth and nose coverings when in public areas.
- Patient companions are permitted only if required for direct patient assistance.
- Waiting room chairs must be spaced to require a minimum of six-feet physical distancing.
- Providers must have signage to emphasize social restrictions, access to hand sanitizer, and written procedures for disinfection of common areas.
Providers may also begin to perform outpatient surgeries and procedures that have a minimal impact on inpatient hospital bed capacity and protective equipment levels, including those performed in the office or ambulatory surgical center. They must follow additional criteria.
Some examples include:
- Testing patients for COVID-19 for procedures requiring airway management.
- Implement a plan for the periodic testing of healthcare workers who may come into contact with a patient.
Opioid-related fatalities decreased in 2019
Opioid-related fatalities in Vermont have decreased for the first time since 2014, the Health Department announced Tuesday. Newly released preliminary data show a 15% decline in the number of deaths attributed to opioid misuse — down from 130 in 2018 to 111 in 2019.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said that our strategies to meet this public health challenge are making a difference, “but even a single death tied to opioid use is too many.”
Vermont’s efforts have included providing rapid access to medication-assisted treatment, patient education and rules governing prescription monitoring, the creation of a statewide network for naloxone distribution, safe drug disposal, syringe service programs, a statewide network of recovery centers, and building strong community partnerships.
Health Department to open additional COVID-19 testing sites
A pop-up site in Colchester will be open on Saturday, May 9 to offer COVID-19 virus testing for workers on the frontlines of Vermont’s pandemic response. The specimen collection site is one of several to be opened around the state in the coming days for health care workers, first responders (EMS, fire, and law enforcement), and child care providers currently serving essential workers.
The clinic is by appointment only and is not open to the general public.
Organized by the Department of Health and the state’s Enhanced Testing and Contact Tracing Task Team with support from the Vermont National Guard and EMS agencies, the clinics are designed to increase current testing volumes five-fold to meet the goal set by Governor Phil Scott to conduct 1,000 tests per day.
For more information about the clinic, read the press release.
The data dashboard on healthvermont.gov/covid19 now includes the estimated number of people recovered from COVID-19.
We calculate this recovery estimate in two ways:
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 report they have recovered to our investigation teams during their follow-up calls.
- Thirty days or more have passed since the date the person’s illness began. (If that information is not available, we use the date the positive test is reported to the Health Department.)
Collecting recovery data is not something epidemiologists normally do in disease investigation. Because of this new challenge, this method provides us our best estimate, and many other states are reporting recovery data this way.
The number of people recovered does not tell us who is actively sick with COVID-19 in Vermont. This is because:
- There are likely people with COVID-19 who haven’t been tested (therefore we don’t know about them), and
- People we do know about may be recovered – we just haven’t reached out to them yet or we haven’t deemed them recovered yet.
Read more info about our data by clicking on About Dashboard Data – New Questions on People Recovered – above the data dashboard.
As of 11:00 a.m. on May 10, 2020
Hospitalized under investigation
Total people recovered
People being monitored
People completed monitoring
*Includes testing conducted at the Health Department Laboratory, commercial labs and other public health labs.
+Death occurring in persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending.
Hospitalization data is provided by the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition and is based on hospitals updating this information.
Find more information on new data dashboard at healthvermont.gov/covid19 by clicking on the map of Vermont.
Vermonters with mild symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested
The Health Department is encouraging all Vermonters with even mild symptoms to contact their health care provider to get tested. This includes parents of children who have symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.
Your provider will refer you to a hospital or health center near you that can perform the test. Testing is free, and testing sites are following precautions to make sure you are safe. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 2-1-1 to connect with a community or hospital-connected clinic.
Be sure you know the symptoms associated with COVID-19, which have been expanded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms may include:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Health care professionals are urged to ensure Vermonters with any symptoms be tested. The state is expanding its testing and contact tracing capabilities and is ready with the necessary supplies and resources. We are relying on health care professionals to help achieve this important public health goal. Visithealthvermont.gov/covid19-providers for more information.
By being tested for any associated symptoms, Vermonters can help us quickly identify and isolate outbreaks, and better understand COVID-19 in Vermont.
Map of Cases by Town – Frequently Asked Questions