With this regular feature, the Banner runs down breaking local and regional developments in the coronavirus pandemic.
The statistics supplied by the Vermont Department of Health at midday each day are accurate as of the end of the previous day. The information is preliminary and subject to change.
The health department on Monday reported 122 new positive tests over the past day for the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 3,011. It is a single-day record for new cases in the state, eclipsing the 117 mark set on Wednesday.
Thirteen of the state’s 14 counties reported at least one new case. Washington County had 40 new cases; Chittenden County had 28; Orange County had 15; Rutland County had nine; Lamoille County had eight; Caledonia County had six; Franklin County had five; Orleans County had four; Windham and Essex counties each had two; and Addison, Bennington and Windsor counties each had one.
Among Vermont counties, Bennington has the third-highest rate of COVID-19, at 46.9 cases per 10,000 residents, and Windham County is fifth, at 41.2. Chittenden County is first, at 73.9 cases per 10,000.
No Vermonters have died of COVID-19 over the past day, the health department reported. The death toll remains at 59.
Nineteen Vermonters are currently hospitalized with the disease; one of those patents is in an intensive care unit.
So far, 201,176 people have been tested.
The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 rose by 27, to 2,050.
The health department reported that 381 people were being monitored for the disease as of Monday, a decrease of 59 from Sunday. Of these, 200 are visitors to Vermont.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO RECEIVE COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARD
The Vermont Community Foundation and the organizing committee for the Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership on Monday announced that the 2020 award will go to the Vermont Department of Health.
The organizers said the award this year recognizes the department and its staff for their commitment to Vermonters’ safety in this perilous time; their steady, data-driven leadership; and their tenacity in the face of chaos.
The Award Committee credited Vermont’s low COVID-19 positivity rates — among the lowest in the country — to the health department’s insights and action. They highlighted VDH’s early recognition of the dangers of the virus; their calm, quick, and expert response to reported outbreaks; and their consistently honest, straightforward, and compelling communication that has inspired Vermonters to keep each other safe during this pandemic.
Initiated in 2015, the annual award is a tribute to Con Hogan, who died in 2018, and his life’s work and commitment to public service.
The award will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at a virtual celebration beginning at noon. For more information or to register for the award event, visit vermontcf.org/conhoganaward.
DALTON, MASS., SCHOOL MOVES TO REMOTE LEARNING
Wahconah Regional High School has shifted to fully remote learning until after the Thanksgiving break amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in the school community.
Leslie Blake-Davis, superintendent of Central Berkshire Regional School District, made the announcement Monday morning in an email to families. Students will continue to learn remotely until Nov. 30.
“Hopefully, at that point, the status of COVID-19, in the community and within Wahconah Regional High School will allow for the school to be reopened for in-person learning,” Blake-Davis wrote.
The decision was made based on recommendations from Jayne Smith, a representative of the Dalton Board of Health, and Dr. Dan Doyle, chair of the Dalton Board of Health Committee. Wahconah currently has three positive COVID-19 cases, and 12 people are in quarantine due to community exposure.
“Due to the presence of these documented cases, and the potential for additional cases to turn positive, with consequences for contact tracing at Wahconah, the decision has been made to postpone in-person learning until the Monday after Thanksgiving break,” Blake-Davis wrote.
“This is a reminder that safety measures are especially important right now as they have direct implications for our return to in-person schooling. Thank you ahead of time for your understanding regarding this difficult decision which above all else puts the health and well being of our students and staff at the forefront.”
COVID-19 CASE CLOSES PITTSFIELD, MASS., YMCA
The Pittsfield branch of the Berkshire YMCA was closed on Monday after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the organization.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Jessica Rumlow said the staff member notified the organization that they had tested positive on Sunday.
“While this individual was last in the building on Monday, November 9, out of an abundance of caution, and as we await guidance from the City of Pittsfield’s Department of Public Health, we are closing our Pittsfield branch tomorrow, Monday, November 16,” wrote Rumlow in a Facebook post.
Rumlow apologized for the inconvenience caused by the temporary closure, but said the community’s health and wellbeing are the YMCA’s top priority.
An update will be provided by the YMCA on Monday after the organization receives guidance from the Department of Public Health, said Rumlow.
MAINE RECORDS 15 NEW CASES
Maine announced more than 150 new confirmed cases Sunday. Two additional deaths were announced, bringing the total to 165.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 75 new cases per day on Oct. 31 to nearly 170 new cases per day on Nov. 14.
MASS. COLLEGES SHIFT TO REMOTE LEARNING
Fitchburg State University students are scrambling to make plans as dorms close and classes move online due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the city.
The university said Friday it will shift most classes to remote learning by Nov. 21, and dorms will close for the semester the next day. The spring semester will start Jan. 25, a week later than originally planned.
Babson College in Wellesley also moved classes online effective Friday, after a spike in cases there.
“I kind of saw it coming,” student Cooper Howell told WBZ-TV. “I didn’t want to accept it, but I saw it coming. Because all the other schools are doing it.”
The state announced 2,076 new confirmed cases Sunday. Thirty-three deaths were announced, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 10,098. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Massachusetts has risen over the past two weeks from nearly 1,300 new cases per day on Oct. 31 to more than 2,365 new cases per day on Nov. 14.
CHILD ADVOCATE RAISES VIRUS CONCERNS
The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of building a system of care that strengthens families and prevents child abuse, neglect and delinquency, according to the head of a watchdog office for New Hampshire’s child welfare system.
Moira O’Neill, director of the Office of the Child Advocate, sees parallels between the experience of living through a pandemic and living as a child in out-of-home care.
“The stress and uncertainty we all feel under pandemic restrictions teaches us what children feel when placed away from home,” she wrote in an annual report released Friday. “They never really know when they will go home, if they will go home, or who will be there for them. This may be the greatest lesson of the pandemic.”
O’Neill said the Division for Children, Youth and Families has forged partnerships to create new paths to supports and services during the pandemic, many of which are better than previous options. But she said there is an urgent need to implement the expansion of the entire system of care that was authorized in legislation a year and a half ago.
Health officials announced 361 new confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday. The number of deaths stood at 499. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from more than 120 new cases per day on Oct. 31 to nearly 300 new cases per day on Nov. 14.
UVM MEDICAL CENTER BARS VISITORS
The University of Vermont Medical Center is the latest hospital to prohibit visitors due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Burlington hospital, along with the other hospitals and clinics in its network, has begun prohibiting visitors, with limited exceptions for labor and delivery, procedures requiring sedation and end-of-life care. One parent or guardian may accompany pediatric patients.