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 Wednesday reported 81 new positive tests over the past day for the virus that causes COVID-19. The state’s cumulative total is now 3,827.
No Vermonters died of COVID-19 over the past day. The death toll remains at 64.
Twelve of Vermont’s 14 counties reported at least one new case. Chittenden County had 21 new cases; Washington County had 15; Orange County had 10; Orleans County had eight; Windham County had six; Franklin County had five; Lamoille and Windsor counties each had four; Bennington County had three; Addison and Caledonia counties each had two; and Rutland County had one.
Among Vermont counties, Bennington has the sixth-highest rate of COVID-19, at 53.9 cases per 10,000 residents, and Windham County is eighth, at 49.1. Washington County, which has recorded 383 cases over the past two weeks, is first, at 101.3 cases per 10,000.
Twenty Vermonters are currently hospitalized with the disease; five of those patients are in intensive care units.
So far, 218,607 people have been tested.
The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 rose by 35, to 2,374.
The health department reported that 294 people were being monitored for the disease as of Wednesday, an increase of 28 from Tuesday. Of these, 197 are visitors to Vermont.
NO UPDATES ON THANKSGIVING
The health department says it will not update its Vermont Dashboard of COVID numbers on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. On Friday, the weekly data summary, map of cases by town, and COVID cases in schools will not be updated.
VT. JUDICIARY RESPONDS TO INCREASED COVID-19 CASES IN STATE
The Vermont Judiciary has reminded the public of its policies and procedures in place as the state experiences increased cases of COVID-19 in every corner of Vermont. The Judiciary said it is reiterating its commitment to the safety of its employees and the public as it carries out its work.
“These are unprecedented times and the Judiciary is committed to continuing its work on behalf of Vermonters while following all Department of Health guidelines to prevent or quell increased cases in our courtrooms and communities,” said Patricia Gabel, Vermont state court administrator. “When there are cases that impact those who interact with the Judiciary, we follow guidelines for reporting, including notifying staff, all other agencies that occupy the building and any attorneys or litigants who have attended hearings. Staff then cooperate fully with contact tracing conducted by the Department of Health,” she said.
Gabel noted that the Judiciary has safety protocols in place every day, including a mask requirement, social distancing rules, plexiglass barriers, daily health surveys of all who enter court facilities, and careful disinfecting of surfaces.
“To provide increased safety, we have also allowed certain matters before our courts to proceed virtually and delayed certain types of trials that would require many individuals gathering together in person,” she said. “We make all decisions with guidance from Department of Health and CDC protocols.”
FISH & WILDLIFE LAUNCHES OUTDOOR RECREATION APP
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department released a new mobile application to help the public recreate outdoors in a safe and socially distanced manner. The “Vermont Outdoors” app connects the public with department lands, fish and wildlife regulations and up-to-date COVID-19 guidance.
“We’ve seen an increase in outdoor recreation across our 100 wildlife management areas and nearly 200 fishing access areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski. “This new app will encourage Vermonters to find new opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, or view wildlife on public lands and waters. The app will also provide access to fish and wildlife law digests, baitfish dealers, department news and current events, and the ability to report fish and wildlife violations.”
This project was paid for with federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) stimulus to enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. Other CARES funded projects completed by the department included improvements to boat ramps and other water access points, wildlife management area roads, parking areas and informational signage.
The application can be downloaded at the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones.
For more information, call Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.
SCHOOL DISTRICT SAYS SOME NOT COMPLYING WITH CONTACT TRACING
A school district in Orange County is concerned about families not complying with quarantine rules after a cluster of COVID-19 cases turned up in the district that serves Randolph, Braintree and Brookfield.
The Orange Southwest School District has moved to remote learning but is encountering apathy from some people it has contacted during contact tracing, WCAX-TV reported. Superintendent Layne Millington estimates about a third of the families that were called discounted concerns about possible exposure or exposing others to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Didn’t care, is probably a good expression for a lot of them,” Millington told WCAX-TV. “And then, we had at least one family that had positive cases that said they were going to be noncompliant with the quarantine.”
Gov. Phil Scott says the state can impose penalties for people unwilling to comply with contact tracing requirements but he’s reluctant to do that.
“We don’t want to use our limited resources in public safety to go after people,” he said. “We’re asking people to tell the truth to protect others. I don’t think it’s tattling on anyone, and I am not sure it’s all about the kids. The parents play a role in this as well.”
On Tuesday, Scott announced that when children return to school next week after Thanksgiving, they will be asked whether they attended gatherings outside their households. Any students who attended events with more than just their immediate household will be required to take online classes for a two-week quarantine period, or to quarantine for a week and then have a negative COVID-19 test, Scott said.