Vermont officials 'feel good' about pandemic approach

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MONTPELIER — As other states struggle, Vermont officials on Monday applauded efforts aimed at reopening the economy and preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the Green Mountain State.

"We feel good about the numbers and the approach we're taking," Gov. Phil Scott said at his thrice-weekly COVID-19 press conference.

With 64,993 people tested for COVID-19, the state has recorded 1,208 positive cases. Ten new cases were reported this weekend.

Windham County has a total of 94 cases, according to state data. Last week, seven cases were attributed to a family outbreak in the county.

While data shows two people are currently hospitalized in the state, the number of deaths has not changed since June 16 when the 56th was recorded.

Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said nearly 20 percent of the cases were attributed to health care workers. About 70 percent of those cases are said to have been recorded in April when the number of cases in the state was at the highest.

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Vermont had its highest daily count of cases, 70, on April 3. Levine said the state "flattened the curve" or slowed the spread of the virus earlier, using contact tracing and pop-up testing sites to aid in keeping outbreaks from getting worse.

"Vermont is again flattening the curve," he said. "It will never be totally flat."

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Testing in Fair Haven following an outbreak resulted in more than 200 negative tests, Levine said. He noted that other areas of the country are seeing an upsurge in cases and hitting single-day records.

Bars have been part of the problem in other states, Levine said.

"We have to be very, very conscientious," he said. "It's all about physical distancing."

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Vermont's approach to reopening sectors of the economy involves not allowing establishments to operate at full capacity and making room for people to keep 6 feet between them, Levine said. He urged people to limit time spent indoors in close contact with others.

Scott started the press conference off by noting the "incredible economic damage and challenges" presented by the pandemic. He thanked legislators and state employees for their efforts.

"This has not been easy for anyone," he said. "It will be a little while longer until we're truly back to normal."

With the same commitment and spirit seen in the last three or four months, he added, "we will get through this and be stronger than before."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com and at @CMaysBR on Twitter.


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