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 health department on Tuesday reported 29 new positive tests over the past day for the virus that causes COVID-19. The new cumulative total reported was 2,113, which is 30 higher than the number reported Monday. The department did not explain the discrepancy.
Chittenden County had seven new cases, Franklin and Washington counties each had six, Bennington County had four, Caledonia and Orleans counties each had two, and Windham and Rutland counties each had one.
In Bennington County, the cumulative total is now 141, while in Windham County, the total rises to 146. Among Vermont counties, Bennington has the second-highest rate of COVID-19, at 39.6 cases per 10,000 residents. Chittenden County is first, at 59.1 cases per 10,000, and Windham County is third, at 34.1.
No Vermonters have died of the disease since July 28. The death toll remains at 58.
Four Vermonters are currently hospitalized with the disease.
So far, 186,291 people have been tested.
The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 rose by 25, to 1,766.
The health department reported that 523 people were being monitored for the disease as of Tuesday, an increase of 27 from Monday. Of these, 399 are visitors to Vermont.
STATE’S QUARANTINE MAP NOW INCLUDES MUCH OF UPSTATE N.Y.
But the number of people who can travel to Vermont without quarantining continues to shrink.
The travel map updated every Tuesday now shows that 880,000 people across the Northeast can now travel to Vermont without quarantining. The state’s system allows people to visit Vermont without quarantining if they come from counties where the active infection rate is less than 400 cases per million inhabitants.
The new map makes all of New Hampshire and much of upstate New York adjacent to Vermont off limits for people to visit for routine purposes without quarantining or for people from those areas to visit Vermont.
“This is the lowest the map has ever been in terms of the number of people who can enter without quarantining,” said Michael Pieciak, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who oversees the map.
But the state’s travel guidelines do allow people to travel to and from those areas for essential reasons, such as work, school, medical care or buying groceries, Pieciak said.
SCHOOL STAFFING SHORTAGE
More than a dozen Vermont school districts say they are stretched thin and need to fill 100 positions to be fully staffed to return to full in-person learning. Leaders in the 16 districts that cover the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle are urging people to consider applying, warning that there will likely be a delay in bringing students back full time if the positions aren’t filled, mychamplainvalley.com reported.
“I think it’s very fragile right now,” said Winooski School District Superintendent Sean McMannon. “That’s why we’re reaching out and basically appealing to our communities, otherwise we will either have to stop our plans where they are, or we may have to backtrack.”
A lack of personnel is causing logistical challenges, said Superintendent Lynn Cota of the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union.
“We’re kind of a desert,” she said. “We have positions that are still open for professional staff that we have no candidates for, or maybe one or two non-licensed or non-qualified candidates.”
Amy Rex, superintendent of the Milton Town School District, said health and safety guidelines have changed the way schools operate.
“We can’t go without those support staff people if we continue to increase our numbers,” she said. “Typically, all students go to the cafeteria at the same time, and then you have two supervisors who supervise lunch. Now, every classroom has to have lunch supervision… We’re just figuring out how to put the puzzle pieces together.”