Coronavirus in Vermont: News and impact on your community

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With help from the CDC, we answer some of Google’s most searched questions about the coronavirus crisis. USA TODAY

As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 caused by the new coronavirus continues to evolve in Vermont, here are updates and information. The latest news is at the top. Also, scroll down to find sections covering specific topics.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal. 

More: Coronavirus in Vermont: Interactive map tracks cases around state

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Vermont pre-K-12 schools will continue remote and online learning through the end of the school year, Gov. Phil Scott announced.

Schools stopped in-person instruction on March 18, initially indicating that the order would last through April 6.

More: COVID-19: Vermont’s students will continue remote learning for remainder of the school year

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Here’s the updated status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26:

  • 158 positive results. 
  • deaths.
  • 2,008 tests conducted.
  • 325 people being monitored; 371 who completed monitoring.

The number of positive cases increased by 35 from the number reported Wednesday (123). One additional fatality was reported.

More: Four infographics that show the spread of coronavirus in Vermont

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The Vermont Department of Health is warning Vermonters to be cautious about drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that have not been federally approved or proven to treat COVID-19.

See also: Arizona man dies, wife critical after ingesting chloroquine phosphate in hopes of preventing COVID-19

Most people who contract the disease can recover through rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medicine.

“Talk to your health care provider before taking any substance alleged to prevent or treat COVID-19,” the department wrote in a news release.

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To comply with Gov. Phil Scott’s “stay home” order, construction sites across Vermont are shutting down until April 15. 

Almost every construction project in Burlington is paused, including City Hall Park, the Moran Plant and Cambrian Rise, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said Thursday afternoon. 

South Burlington’s new City Hall, senior center and library project on Market Street should be shut down by Friday, according to a post on the project’s Facebook page

Construction crews and other organizations that believe their work should be exempt from the “stay home” order can submit an application through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

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Nearly 4,000 Vermonters filed for unemployment benefits from March 15-21 as the coronavirus and state regulations forced businesses to radically change their operations or close.

The number does not include approximately 11,000 online submissions still waiting to be processed, according to the Department of Labor.

More: Vermont unemployment claims spike amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The Waterbury Record published its final issue Thursday, an ending which Publisher Greg Popa said was made necessary by economics and hastened by the coronavirus. 

The weekly newspaper is owned by the Vermont Community Newspaper Group, which also publishes South Burlington’s The Other Paper, the Shelburne News, Charlotte and Hinesburg’s The Citizen, the Stowe Reporter and Lamoille County’s News & Citizen.

The Waterbury Record was published since 2007 and reported a print circulation of 4,500.

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The United Way of Northwest Vermont has created a COVID-19 Response Fund. Donations to the fund will be used to support nonprofit organizations and people in Norhwest Vermont.

The United Way said it would be working with the City of Burlington, United Ways across the state, the Vermont Community Foundation, other state and local governments and private funders to address both short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic.

“This crisis has brought front and center the economic and health fragility of many Vermonters, an issue United Way works to address year-round,” the organization said in a statement.

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The Vermont Supreme Court further restricted public access to court proceedings, allowing only the participants into the courthouse, with a few narrow exceptions.

Registered members of the media are still allowed into court if the proceedings aren’t confidential. Everyone has to observe social distancing, staying at least six feet apart.

If you want to read the full order, go to www.vermontjudiciary.org/COVID19.

More: Most Vermont court hearings are canceled and courthouses closed to public amid COVID-19 outbreak

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Here’s the updated status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25:

  • 123 positive results. 
  • 8 deaths.
  • 1,712 tests conducted.
  • 342 people being monitored; 317 who completed monitoring.

The number of positive cases increased by 28 from the number reported Tuesday (95). One additional fatality was reported.

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Gov. Phil Scott ordered Vermonters to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He asked residents not to leave their house except for “essential reasons” which include personal safety; groceries or medicine; curbside pickup for goods, meals or beverages; medical care; exercise; care of others; and work — for certain people. The order goes into effect 5 p.m. March 25.

The governor ordered that all businesses and nonprofits — except those providing services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security — must work from home. Businesses not deemed essential were ordered to suspend all in-person operations.

More: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott orders all Vermonters to stay at home

More: What does Vermont’s ‘stay at home’ order mean? Here’s what you need to know.

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Mayor Miro Weinberger held a press conference with updates on COVID-19 in Burlington. Here are some takeaways: 

  • About 1,000 people lost their jobs in less than two weeks.
  • Per the University of Vermont Medical Center: Six in-patients tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 10 are being monitored. 
  • The sixth death connected to the Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center was announced.
    • Nine other people have tested positive.
    • No deaths have been rehabilitation patients. 

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The Vermont National Guard announced on Facebook its participation in a blood drive. 

“There is a significant need for blood in Vermont… If you are a service member not on State Active Duty and want to help out, please consider donating. This too saves lives, and is another way to contribute,” the post read. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Vermont health officials are encouraging travelers returning to Vermont from additional countries to contact Health Department Epidemiology to be monitored for COVID-19. 

The new countries added to the list Tuesday were Chile, Pakistan,Thailand and Turkey. Other places that were already on the list include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Iran, South Korea, Malaysia. People who recently went on cruises are also asked to contact the Vermont Health Department.

Health Department Epidemiology can be reached at 802-863-7240.

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Spectrum’s annual “Sleep Out” event will be held via livestream this year instead of in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nonprofit is asking participants to sleep out in the location of their choosing — a backyward, a garage, or any other space that makes sense. Typically, the event features one central location where participants sleep out.

The Sleep Out event raises money for the center, which helps youth and teenagers turn their lives around. 

Spectrum will be streaming the annual event live on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and on www.spectrumvt.org. Participants can post photos and videos publicly that night using #SpectrumSleepOut and #StandbySpectrumYouth.

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The Green Mountain National Forest is closing its offices and implementing virtual services during the COVID-19 outbreak to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public, forest officials announced.

However, the Green Mountain National Forest is remaining open and operational.

Customers needing information, permits and maps can contact forest officials the following ways during regular business hours:

  • Forest Supervisor’s Office – Rutland: 802-747-6700
  • Rochester/Middlebury District Office – Rochester: 802-767-4261   
  • Manchester District Office – Manchester: 802-362-2307

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Burlington’s City Council unanimously approved on Monday evening a request from Mayor Miro Weinberger to use $1 million to fund a Burlington COVID-19 Resource and Recovery Center, as well as other expenses related to the pandemic.

The center, according to Weinberger, will help address the “stunning” financial crisis that has hit the city since the impact of the coronavirus outbreak began in Vermont in mid-March.

Weinberger said other expenses could include staffing, equipment and projects addressing emergency needs.

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Here’s the updated status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 24:

  • 95 positive results.
  • deaths.
  • 1,535 tests conducted.
  • 339 people being monitored; 316 who completed monitoring.

The number of positive cases increased by 20 from the number reported Monday (75). Two additional fatalities were reported.

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All Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) Drop-Off Centers will be closed Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25.

“This pause will enable us to deep-clean facilities, modify our facilities to provide safer interactions between our employees and the public, and provide thorough training on public interaction protocols under these unprecedented conditions,” read a news release from CWSD.

An updated schedule will be available on the CSWD website on Wednesday, or via calling their hotline at 802-872-8111.

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A staff member at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport has tested positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Corrections announced on Monday. 

“The department is extending our support to this staff member in light of this news,” said Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker in a news release. 

More: Coronavirus in Vermont: What is the state doing to keep prisons safe?

The staff member, who is not being identified by the department due to privacy concerns, last worked at the prison on Tuesday, March 17. A list of all the staff who came in contact with the individual has been obtained by Corrections. 

As of Tuesday morning, no inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Corrections is continuing to implement policies including prohibiting in-person visitation and volunteering services, routine symptom screening for staff members, and deep cleaning of areas staff last worked in.

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Municipal officials are advising residents to avoid flushing cleaning and sanitary products into the toilet. With recent shortages of toilet paper, and an increase in the use of sanitary wipes, has brought about issues with septic systems and wastewater treatment facilities.

“If you are using anything other than toilet paper, please wrap it in sanitary fashion and throw it in the garbage,” said Shelburne Town Manager Lee Krohn in an email.

“None of these, including so-called “flushable wipes” are suitable for flushing.”

Materials such as wipes, paper towels, diapers, and rags can clog up pipes and septic systems, making their way to wastewater pumps and treatment facilities. 

“Cleaning out and repairing these systems is messy work at any time, and may be especially hazardous to our staff in current circumstances.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

Health Commissioner Mark Levine announced there have been three additional fatalities at Burlington Health and Rehab, the long-term care facility in which 14 patients and 1 staff member have tested positive. Four people have died at the facility from COVID-19. Over the weekend, the number of positive cases in Vermont jumped from 52 to 75. 

Gov. Phil Scott warned there could be enhanced restrictions on Vermonters traveling outside the home in coming days. He stopped short of classifying it as a “shelter in place” order, but said the directive would add on to the recommendations currently in place.

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Mayor Miro Weinberger on Monday afternoon outlined a proposal he would bring to City Council that night to fund a Burlington COVID-19 Resource and Recovery Center.

The center, according to Weinberger, will help address the “stunning” financial crisis that has hit the city since the impact of the coronavirus outbreak began in Vermont in mid-March. He said more than 1,000 Burlington residents lost their jobs last week after restaurants, bars and other businesses shut down to try to stop the spread of the flu-like illness that has been declared a global pandemic.

As Weinberger explained in Monday’s webcast, the center’s purpose includes:

– Connecting people experiencing homelessness with resources for temporary shelters

– Helping laid-off workers apply for unemployment insurance;

– Assisting renters and other residents concerned about housing security;

– Helping businesses navigate insurance claims or governmental resources; and

 – Managing and streamlining community volunteering efforts.

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott ordered all businesses and nonprofits to implement work-from-home or telecommuting measures “to the maximum extent possible” on Monday afternoon. This move is set to go into effect at 8 p.m. Monday. 

The governor’s executive order commands “all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state to put in place, to the maximum extent possible, telecommuting or work from home procedures.” 

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Burlington School District Superintendent Yaw Obeng updated the district’s response to the COVID-19 crisis by noting that it provided more than 3,000 meals throughout the city at 11 sites during the first week of service. He said children do not need to be present at the pickup, and anyone under 18 can get food at the sites, even if they don’t live in the city or go to a Burlington school.

Obeng said parent-teacher conferences will not occur as of right now: “We’ll postpone the parent-teacher conferences for a later date,” the superintendent said.

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Local businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic remain on the hook for the meals and rooms tax but won’t incur penalties or late fees for payments, a Department of Taxes news release stated on Monday afternoon.

In recent days, restaurant owners in Vermont have taken to social media — using the hashtag #dont86us — in a plea to Gov. Phil Scott to abate the 9% tax in full. Scott ordered all restaurants and bars to close except for delivery and take-out service in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the release, businesses, such as restaurants, “will not be charged any penalty or interest on these taxes for late submissions” for the March 25 and April 25 meals and rooms tax and sales and use tax deadlines.

“It’s very good news in the sense that it shows the willingness of the state government to listen to us and the state fully understands that (restaurant owners) are in a crisis as well,” Farmhouse Group owner Jed Davis said. 

The governor’s office also announced the income tax filing due dates have been extended from April 15 to July 15 for Vermont personal income tax; Vermont homestead declaration and property tax claims; corporate income tax; and fiduciary income tax.

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The Vermont Beardies has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the annual fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Vermont is still making its mark, one outrageous beard at a time.

The beard-judging contest, which would have been held March 21, has been postponed until further notice. But competitors raised more than $62,000 from donors, according to James Hathaway, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Vermont, which grants wishes to Vermont children with life-threatening medical conditions.

That total of $62,203 surpasses the $50,000 goal and is more than $10,000 over last year’s record, according to Hathaway. Nearly $15,000 of that came in – “despite the virus (and perhaps because of it),” he wrote Monday in an email to the Burlington Free Press – after the announcement that the event at ArtsRiot in Burlington was postponed.

“The impact on Make-A-Wish of the virus is that many wishes are on hold indefinitely, fundraisers have been canceled, some just postponed,” according to Hathaway. “But we will certainly take a hit from this going forward, so the Beardos coming through for us has been huge.”

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Trent Cooper, a Westford baker, is bracing for extra orders.

In addition to creating and delivering wood-fired loaves to stores and markets throughout this part of Vermont, he has put out that word that Trent’s Bread is now free for those whose incomes have taken a dive during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cooper, a former restaurant worker, knows the feeling of having little-to-no savings after being laid off.

“I lived a stressed-out life for a long time,” he said Monday morning. “Now I’m in a different position. I sell out every day. I can pay it forward.”

Cooper is still working out the details on how to get his country-style bread to those who need it most. But he encourages anyone with a need — or anyone who knows someone who is struggling to make ends meet — to email him at trent@trentsbread.com.

“When things happen like this, people need to be a little nicer to other people,” Cooper said. “As long as I have a bakery, nobody’s going hungry.”

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Commencement ceremonies at University of Vermont are unlikely to take place with the usual pomp and circumstance in May, according to an announcement Monday from President Suresh V. Garimella.

“Unfortunately, many of the celebratory aspects associated with our Commencement do not align with social-distancing principles,” Garimella wrote, adding that upcoming graduates will soon receive a survey to help him decide on other ways to celebrate “this pivotal moment in each of your lives.”

Garimella also updated UVM’s coronavirus-related policies regarding residence halls (they’re closing soon); meals and housing credits (a $1,000 incentive to move out by March 30); and online courses scheduled for this summer.

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Folks are likely to experience above-normal stress levels these days, and the UVM Medical Center posts seven tips for managing anxiety. Among their tips: Listen to more music and dial back on the news.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Here’s status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22:

  • 52 positive results.
  • 1,158 tests conducted.
  • 307 people being monitored; 310 who completed monitoring.

The number of positive cases increased by three from the number reported Saturday (49). The number people who the state had tested also jumped from by 180 tests. There were no additional fatalities reported.

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The mayor wrote about being “deeply concerned” about the patients who tested positive for COVID-19 at Burlington Health and Rehab.

The nursing facility in downtown Burlington reported on Saturday seven additional positive cases of people with the disease related to the coronavirus that first started to affect people in China at the end of 2019. This was in addition to a patient at the facility that was among the first two Vermonters to die of COVID-19 and another patient that had been transported for treatment outside the facility.

Mayor Miro Weinberger wrote on Sunday that city residents should know that state Health Commissioner Mark Levine outlined for him the following steps being taken to stabilize the facility:

  • More supplies and additional staff have been made available to the center.
  • Rehab patients, who have not tested positive for the virus and reside on a different floor from outbreak, are being moved to a new location.

“The City will continue to monitor and advocate for the residents of the facility in the challenging days ahead,” Weinberger wrote.

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Burlington residents who didn’t mind 30 degree temps were still permitted to enjoy Sunday’s sunshine in city park. However, the mayor, in his Sunday letter to the public, reminded residents to remain 6 feet away from those outside your household.

Those venturing out should be mindful of new directions advising people to avoid the playground equipment, Mayor Miro Weinberger wrote.

More: Social distancing? Tips for hiking and walking outside during the coronavirus outbreak

He also alluded to the fact that social-distancing policies may become mandatory at some point:

“I am writing to you from home and I hope you are spending your time at home and practicing extensive social distancing techniques as well even though this is not yet mandated by order.”

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Health Department reported 16 new cases of the COVID-19 on Saturday, including seven at a nursing care center where a resident on Thursday became one of the first of two Vermont deaths from the disease.

The ages of newly announced patients who tested positive for the coronavirus range from the 20s to older than 80.

The number of positive tests reported by the Health Department total 49 out of 978 people tested as of Saturday. 

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Two people tested by the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans tested positive for COVID-19, according to the hospital.

“As these are our first known positive cases in our community, we are providing you this information. Out of respect for patient privacy, no further patient information on these cases will be shared at this time,” the hospital wrote in a news release posted on Saturday.

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Gov. Phil Scott on Saturday ordered additional business closures, including gyms, nail salons and tattoo parlors, in response to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The order “to close all in-person operations” by 8 p.m. Monday covers gyms, fitness centers and similar exercise facilities, hair salons and barbers, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors. 

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Members of the Vermont National Guard are joining the response against the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the state.

“Five airmen and two Soldiers will report to SAD (stat of active duty) with missions beginning today and on Monday,” Vermont National Guard spokesman Capt. Mike Arcovitch wrote in a news release on Friday.

“Two Soldiers are serving as planners to support ‘lifting the line’ – or increasing Vermont’s medical capacity, and five Airmen will contribute to warehouse logistical operations to also assist in lifting the line,” Arcovitch wrote.

Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency on March 13 and activated the National Guard as part of his response to the spread of COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus.

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Vermont businesses suffering economic hardship due to the pandemic may qualify for financial assistance from the federal Small Business Administration.

“The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) offer up to $2 million in assistance per business, providing economic support to overcome temporary loss of revenue,” according a news release dated March 20.

“Even if the Coronavirus has not taken an immediate impact on your business, you should apply as soon as possible,” Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Office director said in a statement. “

Given the unknown duration of the pandemic, a few days from now it may start affecting your business and you will be glad you already applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” she said.

“These loans offer one initial step in helping our small businesses weather this crisis as we continue to measure the impact it will have,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement.Scott encouraged businesses to seek professional business counseling and technical assistance before taking on additional debt.

More information about these resources can be found online at https://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/resources.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Vermont Health Department report on COVID-19 activity as if 2 p.m. Friday:

  • Positive test results: 29.
  • Total tests conducted: 808.
  • People being monitored: 264.
  • People who have completed monitoring: 288.
  • Deaths: 2.

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An employee with the Central Vermont Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19, according to a UVM Health Network news release dated March 20. 

“After receiving the positive notification from Vermont Department of Health, hospital clinical and human resources teams immediately traced and notified contacts of their possible exposure. Self-quarantine and monitoring for symptoms have been recommended to those potentially affected,” according to the news release.

The individual had interactions “with a small group of patients and staff” during an asymptomatic period. 

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The Community Health Centers of Burlington provided updates on its amended services in the midst of COVID-19, per an announcement made March 19. 

Certain sites, like the Champlain Islands Health Center and Winooski Family Health, are physically closed as of March 20. Other sites have revised uses, like: 

  • Riverside Health Center: For patients who need to address their respiratory symptoms in person. 
  • South End Health Center and GoodHEALTH Internal Medicine: For patients who need to be seen for other symptoms (gastrointestinal distress, joint pain, etc). 
  • Three biggest sites: Open, though patients are asked to call (802) 864-6309 for triaging purposes. 

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Operations at 12 Travel Information Centers across Interstates 89 and 91 have been suspended as of Thursday, March 19. 

Four other centers (in Williston North, Williston South, Guilford and Bennington) stopped their operations at 3 p.m. Friday. 

“Parking for trucks and cars will remain available at all information centers and rest areas. The State Information Center buildings were closed due to staffing shortages,” according to the news release. 

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Taxpayers get three extra months to file, per a tweet from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on March 20. People and businesses will have until July 15 to file “without interest or penalties.”

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Two people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Vermont have died, Gov. Phil Scott announced in a press conference on Thursday. 

The medical examiner still needs to determine “the exact cause of death,” but Scott acknowledged the positive COVID-19 results will concern the public. 

The patients were both over 80 years old, including:

  • One male from Windsor County who was hospitalized in White River Junction. 
  • One female resident at the Burlington Health and Rehab long-term care facility. 

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The Office of the Attorney General plans to file motions “to continue for 90 days all economic services cases where they provide counsel to the State of Vermont,” according to a news release dated March 19. 

This move will push back pending cases between Vermont and people “involving the termination or reduction of existing benefits.” 

Assistant attorneys general working with economic services cases are expected to pursue a continuance for cases that involve specific benefits programs, such as:

  • VPharm. 
  • Vermont Health Connect.
  • Reach-up.
  • 3-Squares.
  • Vermont Rental Subsidy Program. 

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The Turning Point Center of Chittenden County reminded the public that its services are still accessible while in-person assistance is on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Though Turning Point is closed through the month, people can access the recovery center by:

  • Calling (802) 861-3150. 
  • Using Zoom to access recovery coaching. 
  • Emailing staff, whose contact information can be found online. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Here’s status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19:

  • 22 positive results.
  • 667 tests conducted.
  • 282 people being monitored; 274 who completed monitoring.

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Since congregating in big groups is pretty much off-limits for now, some musicians are getting innovative with their shows.

Some artists are continuing to perform online (and even adding in some extra options for internet attendees, like a “virtual tip jar” and the opportunity to donate to a cause).

The Free Press compiled some of these performances into a running list (meaning there are plans to add more as we’re notified!)

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Burlington is no longer issue parking tickets for residential parking and meter violations, according to an update posted March 18.

This decision is intended to minimize difficulty as people navigate the city, when getting take-out or parking to provide help to loved ones, as examples.

“We are still enforcing prohibited area violations and those that impact public safety, such as people being parked in a way that blocks traffic or pedestrians, handicapped spaces, or fire access,” the statement read.

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The University of Vermont Medical Center has imposed a temporary restriction on entering the building and suspended visitations as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.

The medical center also plans on “screening everyone who enters hospital facilities and clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There are different inpatient and outpatient guidelines. No one can visit “with limited exceptions to individuals who are screened.”

For inpatient, examples include:

  • Pediatric patients: One parent/support person.
  • Patients scheduled for same-day surgery/ambulatory care: One visitor/support person escorting the individual.

For outpatient, these include:

  • No visitors unless the individual needs help accessing an appointment.
  • Pediatric patients: Can have a single parent/support person “if they are properly screened.”

There will also be designated screening spots around the medical centers.

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation “will temporarily stop pursuing enforcement action against retailers or redemption centers who fail to redeem beverage containers subject to Vermont’s bottle bill law,” according to a news release dated March 18. The policy will be in effect until at least April 30.

This move is intended to minimize unnecessary contact and enable grocers to hone in on other work “to assure availability of groceries.”

“Decisions about whether to close or stop redeeming during this time are solely at the discretion of the retailer/redemption center,” according to the news release.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Vermont Health Department announced five additional cases of COVID-19 in the state. Two of them are state residents. That brings the total reported cases in Vermont to 17.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the department had not provided information on the location of the cases nor the current condition of the patients.

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The University of Vermont Health Network is urging affiliates in the region “to immediately work toward eliminating ‘non-urgent elective’ encounters with the health system,” according to a news release dated March 17.

These are considered surgeries, diagnostic tests, visits or procedures “that can be safely delayed or deferred” without causing harm to the patient.

The network indicated this move will provide a number of benefits, like:

  • Reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Conserving supplies and equipment.
  • Redirecting teams to individuals with the greatest levels of need.

Affected patients will be notified.

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The Vermont Public Utility Commission instructed the state’s regulated utilities to avoid disconnecting service caused by nonpayment, according to a news release dated March 18.

This will carry on until the end of April at the earliest. These steps were taken “given that many Vermonters will experience a loss of income as a result of these restrictions and will spend considerable time at home for the foreseeable future,” the commission wrote.

“The proceeding was opened in response to a March 16 petition from Vermont Legal Aid ‘on behalf of the low-income, disabled, and elderly residents of the state,'” according to the news release.

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The Howard Center, a provider of mental health services in the area, sent a message to the community about changes to services in light of COVID-19, in a news release dated March 18.

Some of these changes include:

  • Telehealth check-ins for many programs.
  • The First Call for Chittenden County crisis line operating through (802) 488-7777.
  • Using telehealth for Impaired Driver Rehabilitation programs and outpatient services.
  • Temporarily stopping the drop-in assessment clinic (and using a telehealth assessment as a substitute).
  • Suspending clinical groups and providing individual telehealth therapy.

“These are unprecedented times for everyone,” Howard Center CEO Bob Bick said, in the news release. “The health and safety of our clients, staff, and providers is our top priority, and we are implementing the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Vermont Department of Health, and the University of Vermont Medical Center. Additionally, we are working closely with our local, state, regional, and national partners as we make accommodations to follow best practices in how we serve our community.”

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Child care programs not serving people who are “essential” in managing the disease’s impact have been ordered closed. This will take effect Wednesday, March 18 for state-regulated programs.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s order, posted online March 17, is set to run until April 6.

Examples of “essential persons” include firefighters, health care providers and criminal justice personnel.

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The state’s Supreme Court suspended non-essential court hearings, declaring a “judicial emergency.” The decision arrived Monday after the governor put a limit on the size of public gatherings.

The suspensions are in effect until at least mid-April.

People will not be permitted to enter court buildings until March 30 at the earliest. There are some exceptions, including those taking part in hearings that are not suspended. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Governor Phil Scott ordered the suspension of on-site service for restaurants and bars throughout the state, beginning March 17 and ending April 6 at the earliest. 

Delivery and carry-out services will not be impacted. 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger made a similar call on establishments in the Queen City shortly before the statewide imposition. 

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Green Mountain Transit announced it would offer bus services for free, according to a news release sent March 17.

The suspension of fare charges will be in effect until April 1 tentatively. The transit system also encouraged passengers to remain home if possible.

“Limiting the interaction on-board our buses will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other passengers and to our Transit Operators. Whenever possible, Transit Operators will allow passengers to board and alight through the rear door of the bus,” GMT wrote.

For the week of March 16, the Capitol Shuttle is not in operation.

The transit system will execute other changes beginning March 18, as a result of closures in service areas. These include:

  • Suspending Neighborhood Special service in Chittenden County.
  • Suspending the Mad River Valley bus service.
  • Reducing the Stowe Mountain Road Shuttle to hourly service starting at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m, Monday through Sunday. At the end of March, the service will finish up for the season.

—————

Libraries joined a growing body of spaces that closed to the public in the face of COVID-19.

Williston’s Dorothy Alling Memorial Library will close its doors starting March 17 with the intention of reopening April 6. Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library will do the same starting March 18, with plans to reopen April 6.

The Jericho Town Library and South Burlington Public Library announced closures until further notice.

—————

The Community Health Centers of Burlington adjusted its services in light of COVID-19 concerns.

These changes include:

  • Closing its dental center and rescheduling routine and preventative treatment appointments. Emergency visits can be made at the South End Health Center.
  • Closing the Safe Harbor Health Center. (Urgent matters can be redirected to (802) 264-8477.)
  • Closing the Pearl Street Youth Health Center. Urgent matters can be redirected to (802) 652-1080 extension 3.
  • Cancelling evening and Saturday hours until further notice.
  • Cancelling walk-in appointments. You can call (802) 864-6309 “to triage your medical symptoms.”
    • People experiencing “urgent psychiatric need” can call (802) 864-6309 to get added to the “Psychiatric Same-Day Clinic” and get directions on receiving services through phone/Zoom.

—————

The Greater Burlington YMCA closed up shop until tentatively April 1 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to communication shared March 16

Early childhood programs in St. Albans and downtown Burlington will close at the end of Tuesday, March 17, until April 1. The “Y before/afterschool programs” will close at the same time, though they will remain closed until April 6 except for the Burlington program, which was closed immediately.

The early childhood program run by the YMCA in Winooski will not be affected by closures. 

Partial refunds for memberships will not be offered for the month. 

“If the temporary suspension of operations at our fitness/aquatics/gym facility is anticipated to continue past April 1st, we will be reevaluating our membership payment policies,” the organization wrote. 

The gym planned to communicate more about fees for specific members, like those participating in session-based programs and early childhood/before/afterschool families.  

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Health Department on Monday reported four more confirmed cases of the coronavirus — all Vermont residents, two of them in Chittenden County.

Previously, one other case had been reported in Chittenden County, a man in his 70s who is hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

“To date, the lab has reported eight positive cases among Vermonters, and four cases among non-Vermonters,” the Health Department wrote in a news release.

The new cases are: 

  • A female in her 60s, from Bennington County, is hospitalized at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.
  • A male in his 60s, of Orange County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A female in her 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A male in his 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.

The Health Department said it has been investigating the patients’ travel history and related community activities, and working to identify anyone in Vermont who may have been in close contact with the patients.

—————

Gov. Phil Scott amended his executive order to encourage increased “social distancing” throughout the state, according to an addendum dated March 16.

Executive Order 01-20, which declared a state of emergency regarding COVID-19, was amended to limit the size of gatherings “to the lesser of fifty (50) people or fifty percent (50%) of the occupancy of a facility.”

Any non-essential mass gatherings are prohibited from exceeding these limits “for social, recreational or entertainment activities.”

Certain environments do not fall under these restrictions, including normal airport operations and environments where many congregate but are unlikely to be in close quarters like grocery stores or offices. 

More cases of COVID-19 tested presumptively positive in Vermont since Gov. Scott issued the executive order Friday, March 13.

Scott made the decision after consulting with the Commissioner of Health and the Department of Public Safety/Division of Vermont Emergency Management.

—————

A community member connected to the Shelburne Community School tested positive for COVID-19. The Champlain Valley School District announced March 15 that the school would close Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17.

This comes ahead of the statewide closures set to go into effect beginning March 18 and ending April 6 at the earliest. Faculty and staff, aside from custodial personnel, are not to be at school.

“We are aware that this news is unsettling,” the district wrote. “The Department of Health does not recommend closure of any other Champlain Valley School District schools, and therefore CVSD will move ahead with the plans outlined in the message shared earlier today.”

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Gov. Phil Scott announced that all Vermont schools will be closed starting Wednesday, March 18, until at least April 6. Parents who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school on Monday or Tuesday are not required to do so.

—————

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger held a town hall by telephone to update residents about preventative actions and emergency measures in place. Here’s what you need to know from the meeting:

  • All city employees that can work from home will do so on Monday, and that directive is likely to be extended.
  • The city is planning to curtail all “non-essential” city services, like obtaining permits, marriage licenses, and city records. Those services are operational now, but residents should expect that at some point this week, that will no longer be the case.
  • Weinberger has offered help to Burlington schools in assisting with providing meals to families with children who need them. City employees who help provide “non-essential” services will be employed to assist in this effort.
  • Weinberger said businesses should develop and implement a response plan that reduces exposure among staff and customers. The city is currently looking to identify state and federal resources for small businesses and should have more information in the coming days.

—————

Vermont health officials announced three more cases of coronavirus on Sunday. All cases involve non-Vermont residents, but all three are either hospitalized or self-isolating in the state.

All cases in Vermont are now considered confirmed. According to the health department, the CDC is no longer requiring states to refer to positive results as “presumptive.”

The three new cases:

  • A male resident of Berkshire County, Massachusetts in his 70s, receiving treatment at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.
  • A male resident of Suffolk County, Massachusetts in his 50s is self-isolating at his home in Windsor County, Vermont.
  • A female resident of Kings County, New York in her 20s. She is self-isolating at her family home in Chittenden County.

In total, eight people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. Four of them are Vermonters and four of them are non-Vermonters.

—————

Correction: Green Mountain power is still billing customers for power used. The suspension of that activity incorrectly reported in an earlier version of this post.

Green Mountain Power is suspending efforts to collect on overdue bills in recognition of financial hardships some customers may face due to the coronarvirus outbreak.

“We recognize that certain customers may experience financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, whether they or a family member fall ill, are required to quarantine, or because their income is otherwise affected,” Vermont’s largest electric utility wrote in a statement posted on the utility’s Facebook page shortly after 4 p.m. 

“GMP is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections through the end of April, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our customers. These policies are effective immediately and will be in place through the end of April.” 

The statement was also posted on the company’s website.

—————

Much of Vermont’s ski season came to an early end as many ski areas across the state announced they were closing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Some areas, including Stowe Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, Pico Mountain and Okemo, posted on social media that they would be closed from March 15 to March 22.

Sugarbush Resort and Stratton Mountain announced the ski areas would be closed until “further notice.” Bolton Valley announced Sunday afternoon that the resort would be closed for an “indefinite amount of time.”

Mad River Glen Cooperative announced on Instagram Sunday, March 15, that it closed for the rest of the 2020 ski season.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Correction: The man from Westchester County New York who tested positive for coronavirus was evaluated at Springfield Hospital and is self-isolating. An earlier version of this update reflected incorrect information provided by the Vermont Health Department.

Vermont health officials said Saturday three additional people with presumptive cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 are being treated at hospitals in the state.

From the Vermont Health Department news release:

  • The first is a Windsor County male in his 90’s. He is hospitalized at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont.
  • The second is a Washington County male in his 50’s. He was initially treated at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont. He is currently in home isolation, following CVMC’s home care protocols.
  • The third new presumptive positive case is also a male in his 50’s. He is a resident of Westchester County, New York. He was evaluated and tested at Springfield Hospital in Springfield, Vermont, and is self-isolating.

The first reported case, state health officials on Sunday, March 8, said the patient was hospitalized in an airborne infection isolation room at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. 

The first case of COVID-19 in Vermont was reported on March 7 in Bennington County. The second case was reported on March 11.

Friday, March 13, 2020

A Burlington-based center that serves people in recovery from substance use announced late Friday night that they will be closed through March 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This was a most difficult decision, but the safety of staff and guests is paramount,” the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County news release stated.

While the center’s physical location at 179 South Winooski Ave. will be closed, staff will be answering the telephone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (802) 861-3150.

—————

Vermont Gov. Phill Scott declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon. The measures he announced, which did not include closing K-12 school, will remain in place until at least April 15. 

—————

Steve Wright, president and general manager of Jay Peak ski resort, told the Burlington Free Press late Friday that he has decided to close the resort, beginning Saturday at 4 p.m., until May 1 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wright said he made his decision when it became clear that Canadian skiers would have to self-quarantine when they returned to Canada if they visited Jay Peak. The resort draws a lot of Canadian visitors, and Wright decided to close down to protect guests and employees.

“It was a distinct possibility we’d have to shut down anyway, as quickly as the virus can spread,” Wright said.

During the time Jay Peak is closed, Wright said the entire property will be deep-cleaned. He said the resort will take a “significant financial hit” as a result of the closure, but declined to specify how much revenue will be lost.

As many as 100 employees will be placed on furlough and can file for unemployment, according to Wright. He said the resort will make up the difference between what employees receive in unemployment benefits and their regular pay to “keep them whole.”

“As it sits right now, the golf course opens May 16, we have a hockey tournament in the first week of May, and the Pump House Indoor Waterpark opens the first weekend in May,” Wright said. “This gives us a month and a half to let this thing straighten itself out.”

—————

The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday, March 13, ordered jury draws postponed until at least April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The order covers cases for which a jury has yet to be drawn. Exceptions include:

  • Cases in which a defendant is held without bail and has asserted a right to a speedy trial.
  • Cases in which a defendant is in custody pending trial.
  • Any case at the discretion of the superior court judge.

The order reads, in part: “With the emerging threat to public health, many Vermonters seek to practice, to the extent they can, ‘social distancing,’ as recommended by public health officials. For that reason, compulsory jury service is particularly burdensome to Vermonters, especially those with heightened vulnerability to the virus.”

—————

Shelburne Museum will be closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement on the museum Facebook page posted at about 3 p.m Friday, March 13. The announcement did not say how long the museum might be closed.

The post reads: 

Shelburne Museum is temporarily closed to the public to support efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19. All exhibitions are suspended, and events and ongoing activities, educational programming and rental events are cancelled or postponed. Administrative offices continue to be open regular business hours.

The museum has not scheduled a date for reopening, but will closely monitor the situation and continue to follow recommendations of state and federal health officials.

—————

Leaders of the Vermont Legislature decided Friday to suspend the current session through at least March 24 due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus that is sweeping the country.

—————

The Vermont Commons School announced Friday that the private 6-12 school in South Burlington was moving all classes online as of Tuesday, March 12.

Monday is a teachers’ in-service day at the school.

Parent-teacher conferences will proceed as scheduled for March 20, as planned – although will be conducted exclusively over the phone, Head of School Dexter P. Mahaffey wrote in a statement posted on the school website.

“At this point, we anticipate we will certainly be online for a few weeks,” Mahaffey added, “and we will be regularly evaluating how long that needs to be and communicating with you.”

The school, which has about 100 students, has no known COVID-19 cases at this time, he said.

_________

Northern Vermont University, which has campuses in Johnson and Lyndon, said that it would be suspending face-to-face instruction as of the end of the day March 13, according to a news release. All classes currently delivered online will continue as normal.

—————

The Burlington School District has postponed all district-level school and community events and is instructing school principals “to begin practicing various forms of social distancing in our schools.”

In an email sent on Thursday and later posted on the district website, Superintendent Yaw Obeng wrote: “In the coming days, Principals will be reducing the amount of nonessential large gatherings of students and staff. I have asked that they begin looking at things like assemblies and either reconfiguring their delivery or postponing the activity for a future date.”

—————

In a statement issued Thursday, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said city workers who are able to work from home without disrupting city services will do so on Monday.

The statement reads: “As an employer, we will be using Monday, March 16 to test our Work From Home Plan, during which we will continue all City services but employees who are able to perform their work from home will do so. The goal of this measure is social distancing, and having fewer people in our workplaces in order to lessen the spread of any contagious illnesses.”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

St. Michael’s College and Vermont Law School joined the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Middlebury College in deciding to move classes online out of concern for the cornoavirus

—————

The Burlington Winter Farmers Market will be closed this Saturday, March 14, following the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Chittenden County reported Wednesday evening.

—————

The Legislature has cancelled all “non-essential gatherings” at the Statehouse in Montpelier. From the Legislature’s website: “The list of events we’ve canceled includes: non-legislative press conferences, outside bookings of State House rooms, Farmer’s Night events, school visits, card room presentations and Side Bar Cafe meet-and-greets, and public-invite coffee hours.”

—————

Gubernatorial candidate David Zuckerman and Brenda Siegel, candidate for lieutenant governor, said they are changing the way they campaign due to the cornoravirus outbreak. 

Zuckerman said he will “suspend all in-person group campaign activities (such as house parties, events, county meting, and volunteer events) in lihgt of the cornoavirus and the first confirmed case in Vermont,” in a news release dated March 11.

Siegel “has instructed her campaign for lieutenant governor to not add any more in person public events to her schedule until they receive some guidance from the Vermont Department of Health,” according to a news release issued March 12.

Later in the day, Molly Gray, candidate for lieutenant governor, also said she will adjust her campaign in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“While we are grateful for invitations to visit communities around the state, at this time we have elected to suspend public campaign activities,” Gray said in a statement from her campaign. “To continue a conversation with Vermonters, and to help us remain connected during this challenging time, we will implement and share remote communication tools.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Health Department reported the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Chittenden County, A man in his seventies has been hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center while officials wait for confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the second reported case in Vermont.

—————

University of Vermont and Champlain College announced classes will be held only online when students return from spring break. The announcements follow a similar move made by Middlebury College on Tuesday.

Cases in Vermont

Status of COVID-19 cases in Vermont reported by the state Health Department as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 25:

  • 123 positive results. 
  • 8 deaths.
  • 1,712 tests conducted.
  • 342 people being monitored; 317 who completed monitoring.

The number of positive cases increased by 28 from the number reported Tuesday (95). One additional fatality was reported.

___________

The Health Department reported 16 new cases of the COVID-19 on Saturday, including seven at a nursing care center where a resident on Thursday became one of the first of two Vermont deaths from the disease.

The ages of newly announced patients who tested positive for the coronavirus range from the 20s to older than 80.

The 16 additional cases announced Saturday brings the number of positive test results in Vermont to 45.

—————V

ermont Health Department report on COVID-19 activity as if 1 p.m. March 24:

  • Positive test results: 95.
  • Total tests conducted: 1,535.
  • People being monitored: 339.
  • People who have completed monitoring: 316.
  • Deaths: 7.

—————

Two people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Vermont have died, Gov. Phil Scott announced in a press conference on Thursday. 

The medical examiner still needs to determine “the exact cause of death,” but Scott acknowledged the positive COVID-19 results will concern the public. 

The patients were both over 80 years old, including:

  • One male from Windsor County who was hospitalized in White River Junction. 
  • One female resident at the Burlington Health and Rehab long-term care facility. 

—————

A count as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, on the COVID-19 activity in Vermont determined the state had:

  • 19 positive results.
  • 611 tests conducted.
  • 246 people being monitored; 262 who completed monitoring.

—————

The health department announced five additional cases of COVID-19 in the state. Two of them are state residents. That brings the total reported cases in Vermont to 17 as of 1 p.m .March 17.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the department had not provided information on the location of the cases nor the current condition of the patients.

—————

The Health Department on March 16 reported four more confirmed cases of the coronavirus — all Vermont residents, two of them in Chittenden County.

Previously, one other case had been reported in Chittenden County, a man in his 70s who is hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

“To date, the lab has reported eight positive cases among Vermonters, and four cases among non-Vermonters,” the Health Department wrote in a news release.

The new cases are: 

  • A female in her 60s, from Bennington County, is hospitalized at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.
  • A male in his 60s, of Orange County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A female in her 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.
  • A male in his 30s, of Chittenden County, is self-isolating at home.

The Health Department has been investigating the patients’ travel history and related community activities, and working to identify anyone in Vermont who may have been in close contact with the patients.

—————

Vermont health officials announced three more cases of coronavirus on Sunday, March 15. All cases involve non-Vermont residents, but all three are either hospitalized or self-isolating in the state.

—————

Vermont health officials said Saturday, March 14, three additional people with presumptive cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 are being treated at hospitals in the state.

From the Vermont Health Department news release:

  • The first is a Windsor County male in his 90’s. He is hospitalized at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont.
  • The second is a Washington County male in his 50’s. He was initially treated at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vermont. He is currently in home isolation, following CVMC’s home care protocols.
  • The third new presumptive positive case is also a male in his 50’s. He is a resident of Westchester County, New York and is receiving care at Springfield Hospital in Springfield, Vermont.

—————

As of Wednesday afternoon, March 11, 2020, there were two cases of the coronavirus reported in Vermont. The state Health Department called both cases “presumptivee pending results of tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the first reported case, state health officials on Sunday, March 8, said the patient was hospitalized in an airborne infection isolation room at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. 

The second presumptive case, in Chittenden County, was reported Wednesday, March 11.

State, local governments

Governor Phil Scott ordered Vermonters to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with Executive Order 01-20. He asked residents not to leave their house except for “essential reasons.” The order went into effect 5 p.m. March 25.

The Governor ordered that all businesses and nonprofits — except those providing services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security — must work from home. Businesses not deemed essential were ordered to suspend all in-person operations.

_____________

The state’s Supreme Court on March 17  suspended non-essential court hearings, declaring a “judicial emergency.” The decision arrived Monday after the governor put a limit on the size of public gatherings.

The suspensions are in effect until at least mid-April.

—————

People will not be permitted to enter court buildings until March 30 at the earliest. There are some exceptions, including those taking part in hearings that are not suspended. 

Governor Phil Scott ordered the suspension of on-site service for restaurants and bars throughout the state, beginning March 17 and ending April 6 at the earliest. 

Delivery and carry-out services will not be impacted. 

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger made a similar call on establishments in the Queen City shortly before the statewide imposition. 

Gov. Phil Scott amended his executive order to encourage increased “social distancing” throughout the state, according to an addendum dated March 16.

—————

Executive Order 01-20, which declared a state of emergency regarding COVID-19, was amended to limit the size of gatherings “to the lesser of fifty (50) people or fifty percent (50%) of the occupancy of a facility.”

Any non-essential mass gatherings are prohibited from exceeding these limits “for social, recreational or entertainment activities.”

—————

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon. The measures he announced on March 13, which did not include closing K-12 school, will remain in place until at least April 15. 

—————

The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday, March 13, ordered jury draws postponed until at least April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The order covers cases for which a jury has yet to be drawn. Exceptions include:

  • Cases in which a defendant is held without bail and has asserted a right to a speedy trial.
  • Cases in which a defendant is in custody pending trial.
  • Any case at the discretion of the superior court judge.

The order reads, in part: “With the emerging threat to public health, many Vermonters seek to practice, to the extent they can, ‘social distancing,’ as recommended by public health officials. For that reason, compulsory jury service is particularly burdensome to Vermonters, especially those with heightened vulnerability to the virus.”

—————

Leaders of the Vermont Legislature decided Friday to suspend the current session through at least March 24 due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus that is sweeping the country.

—————

In a statement issued Thursday, March 12, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said city workers who are able to work from home without disrupting city services will do so on Monday.

The statement reads: “As an employer, we will be using Monday, March 16 to test our Work From Home Plan, during which we will continue all City services but employees who are able to perform their work from home will do so. The goal of this measure is social distancing, and having fewer people in our workplaces in order to lessen the spread of any contagious illnesses.”

Universities and colleges

Northern Vermont University, which has campuses in Johnson and Lyndon, said that it would be suspending face-to-face instruction as of the end of the day March 13, according to a news release. All classes currently delivered online will continue as normal.

—————

On Thursday, March 12, St. Michael’s College and Vermont Law School joined the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Middlebury College in deciding to move classes online out of concern for the cornoavirus

—————

Several colleges in Vermont, including the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Middlebury College, are moving all classes online and cancelling events. They join other schools around the country making similar moves.

Schools

Vermont schools will continue remote and online learning through the end of the school year, Gov. Phil Scott announced.

Schools stopped in-person instruction on March 18, initially indicating that the order would last through April 6.

More: COVID-19: Vermont’s students will continue remote learning for remainder of the school year

—————

The Vermont Commons School announced Thursday, March 12, the private 6-12 school in South Burlington was moving all classes online as of March 20.

In a statement posted on the school website, Head of School Dexter P. Mahaffey wrote, “It is likely that students will not start online classes on Monday the 23rd so that faculty have the time for working out digital teaching kinks and online lesson planning, with the first day of full-online classes happening on Tuesday the 24th.”

The school will hold parent/teacher conferences planned for March 20 entirely by phone, Mahaffey said.

He added, “Please know that we have no known cases of COVID-19 in our school community at this time.”

The school has about 100 students.

—————

Allen Brook School and Williston Central School in Williston were closed for two days while buildings were scrubbed clean. The decision was parked by an Allen Brook staff member who had stayed at a hotel during spring break where another guest tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sports

In addition to Thursday’s news about the NCAA’s cancellation of the upcoming Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the nation’s governing body for collegiate sports also extended the measure to championships for winter and spring sports currently in progress. Spring sports affected include lacrosse, track, baseball, softball, golf and more.

—————

There will be no state champions in Vermont high school girls basketball for the 2019-20 season. The Vermont Principals’ Association announced Friday morning the cancelation of what’s left of the winter sports season, “specifically the remaining girls’ basketball tournament games in all four divisions,” due to health concerns and risks associated with coronavirus.

—————

The Vermont high school girls basketball semifinals scheduled for Thursday, March 12, have been postponed, according to an announcement by the Vermont Principals’ Association.

From the statement on the VPA website:

“In a rapidly developing situation with COVID-19 guidance for public safety, Division I and III semifinal girls basketball games that were scheduled for March 12th will now be postponed until further notice.

“At this time, we are exploring options about if, when, and where games from 3/12/20 will be rescheduled. We are also determining what is possible for championship games as well. We will update our website and twitter as soon as we have any more information.”

—————

When addressing local media Thursday afternoon, March 12, on the cancellation of the America East men’s basketball championship, University of Vermont athletic director Jeff Schulman said the situation had become “dynamic and fluid” over the last couple days as health concerns over coronavirus grew.

“…circumstances feel like they are changing almost minute by minute,” Schulman said.

Not long after Schulman spoke, more news broke: The NCAA had canceled all winter and spring championships, and that included the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

No America East title game. No March Madness. Season done for the Catamounts.

Business

Grocery chain Price Chopper/Market 32 is seeking over 2,000 part-time employees to join its ranks, according to a news release dated March 19. This move is intended “to better serve customers during these turbulent times.”

Hiring and training procedures for the part-time (or temporary part-time) employees is being expedited.

“The pandemic outbreak has been devastating to so many businesses and their employees,” said Mike Miller, Price Chopper/Market 32’s vice president of human resources operations, according to the news release. “At the same time, we must keep our stores open to provide the community with vital goods and services – and though our exceptional teammates are working around the clock to do this – we need some extra help.”

—————

Green Mountain Power is deferring collecting payments in recognition of financial hardships some customers may face due to the coronarvirus outbreak.

“We recognize that certain customers may experience financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, whether they or a family member fall ill, are required to quarantine, or because their income is otherwise affected,” Vermont’s largest electric utility wrote in a statement posted on the utility’s Facebook page shortly after 4 p.m. 

“GMP is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections through the end of April, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our customers. These policies are effective immediately and will be in place through the end of April.” 

The statement was also posted on the company’s website.

Events and attractions

Much of Vermont’s ski season came to an early end as many ski areas across the state announced they were closing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Some areas, including Stowe Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, Pico Mountain and Okeno, posted on social media that they would be closed from March 15 to March 22.

Sugarbush Resort and Stratton Mountain announced the ski areas would be closed until “further notice.” Bolton Valley announced Sunday afternoon that the resort would be closed for an “indefinite amount of time.”

—————

Steve Wright, president and general manager of Jay Peak ski resort, told the Burlington Free Press late Friday, March 13, that he has decided to close the resort, beginning Saturday at 4 p.m., until May 1 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wright said he made his decision when it became clear that Canadian skiers would have to self-quarantine when they returned to Canada if they visited Jay Peak. The resort draws a lot of Canadian visitors, and Wright decided to close down to protect guests and employees.

“It was a distinct possibility we’d have to shut down anyway, as quickly as the virus can spread,” Wright said.

During the time Jay Peak is closed, Wright said the entire property will be deep-cleaned. He said the resort will take a “significant financial hit” as a result of the closure, but declined to specify how much revenue will be lost.

As many as 100 employees will be placed on furlough and can file for unemployment, according to Wright. He said the resort will make up the difference between what employees receive in unemployment benefits and their regular pay to “keep them whole.”

“As it sits right now, the golf course opens May 16, we have a hockey tournament in the first week of May, and the Pump House Indoor Waterpark opens the first weekend in May,” Wright said. “This gives us a month and a half to let this thing straighten itself out.”

—————

The annual Waking Windows music festival has been canceled, according to an announcement made Wednesday, March 18.

“We concluded that Waking Windows 2020 was an impossibility,” organizers of the Winooski festival, slated for May, wrote.

Passes for this year will be honored for those who want to attend in 2021, scheduled May 7 through May 9. Questions about securing a refund can be emailed to nick@wakingwindows.com.

—————

Shelburne Museum will be closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement on the museum Facebook page posted at about 3 p.m Friday, March 13. The announcement did not say how long the museum might be closed.

The post reads: 

Shelburne Museum is temporarily closed to the public to support efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19. All exhibitions are suspended, and events and ongoing activities, educational programming and rental events are cancelled or postponed. Administrative offices continue to be open regular business hours.

The museum has not scheduled a date for reopening, but will closely monitor the situation and continue to follow recommendations of state and federal health officials.

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Higher Ground, the South Burlington concert and events venue, announced Friday all shows ill be postponed for 30 days due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement was made about 1 p.m. on social media and sent out by email.

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The Legislature has cancelled all “non-essential gatherings” at the Statehouse in Montpelier. From the Legislature’s website: “The list of events we’ve canceled includes: non-legislative press conferences, outside bookings of State House rooms, Farmer’s Night events, school visits, card room presentations and Side Bar Cafe meet-and-greets, and public-invite coffee hours.”

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The Burlington Winter Farmers Market will be closed this Saturday, March 14, following the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Chittenden County reported Wednesday evening.

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Concern about the coronavirus led to a string of cancellations and postponements, including Ben & Jerry’s annual “Free Cone Day,” normally scheduled for the second Tuesday in April. 

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