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The Checkup for July 21: Vt. marks over 30 days without a COVID death

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With this regular feature, the Banner runs down breaking local and regional developments in the coronavirus crisis.

The statistics supplied by the Vermont Department of Health at midday each day are accurate as of the end of the previous day.

The Vermont Department of Health on Monday reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont, raising the cumulative total to 1,366. Of the new cases, four are in Chittenden County, two are in Bennington County, and one is in Franklin County.

Seven additional cases are classified as "pending validation," with the county not specified.

Bennington County's official cumulative total is now 80 cases.

No Vermonters have died of the disease in about a month. The state death toll remains at 56. Three Vermonters are currently hospitalized with the disease.

So far, 84,947 tests have been administered.

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The health department reported that 1,249 people were being monitored as of Monday, an increase of 17 from Sunday. Of those, 1,152 are travelers to Vermont.

The number of Vermonters reported to have recovered from COVID-19 rose by nine on Monday, to 1,148.

Vermont marks over 30 days without a COVID-19 death

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Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine noted at a press conference Tuesday that it has now been over 30 days since Vermont has had a death associated with COVID-19.

“From a national standpoint I believe this is unprecedented,” Levine said.

Vermont’s COVID-19 fatality rate has been 9 deaths per 100,000 as compared with other parts of the Northeast, which range from 29 to 165 deaths per 100,000.

Levine said a slight majority of the Vermont deaths have occurred inside long-term care facilities like nursing homes. New, strict protocols for those facilities have made a difference.

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“We certainly credit the directors and staff of those facilities for instituting intense measures to protect the vulnerable populations they care for, as well as families that have sacrificed visiting their loved ones,” Levine said.

He also recognized the state’s careful reopening plans and the work of Vermonters to prevent the virus’ spread, which has led to less active cases and, in turn, less opportunity for hospitalizations and serious life-threatening illness.

Scott may consider expanding mask mandate

Though Vermont has done well, Scott said Vermont officials are watching the “forest fire” of cases spreading in the nation’s South and West. Alongside these national trends, and with K-12 schools and colleges and universities reopening in the fall, the state will have to keep its guard up and protect the progress that has been made, he said.

“Another option we’re considering is expanding our existing mask mandates,” Scott said. “We’ve been looking more closely at the best time to deploy this tool, as well as others. And if it continues to look like this fire could be headed back toward us, an expanded mask policy will be part of the mix.”

Scott said he would have more information by Friday, informed by the updated regional data to be presented then by Michael Pieciak, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.


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