Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
May 12, 2020
New information is in red
Find this update at healthvermont.gov/covid19 by clicking the “See the Latest Update” button.
Please visit the Vermont Department of Health’s updated COVID-19 web and data pages
At the press conference on Monday, incorrect information was provided about whether people who are pregnant should wear face covering. They should.
Certain people, such as children under the age of 2, should not wear a mask or other face covering. Everyone else, however, should wear a face covering when going out and may be near others.
The CDC offers information and recommendations for people who are pregnant.
COVID-19 Testing Sites Open to Vermonters Without Symptoms
Vermont health officials are offering free COVID-19 testing at pop-up testing sites around the state for any Vermonters without symptoms. 256 people had specimens collected for testing at a pop-up site in Bennington today.
We welcome health care workers, first responders (EMS, fire, and law enforcement), child care providers, people returning to Vermont (on day 7 of their quarantine), and any other Vermonter without symptoms who wants to be tested.
The clinics are part of the state’s efforts to ramp up testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The test will tell you if you have a current infection. It is not a serology/antibody test, which means it will not tell you if you were infected in the past.
The clinics will be held from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the following locations:
- Thursday, May 14: Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro
- Saturday, May 16: Upper Valley Aquatic Center, 100 Arboretum Lane, White River Jct.
- Saturday, May 16: Vermont Public Health Laboratory, 359 South Park Drive, Colchester
Additional sites are planned, with details to come:
Monday, May 18 – Rutland
Tuesday, May 19 – Barre
Wednesday, May 20 – Middlebury and St. Albans
Thursday, May 21 – Newport
Friday, May 22 – Springfield and Morrisville
Saturday, May 23 – St. Johnsbury
Please register for the clinics ahead of time at humanresources.vermont.gov/popups. No referral from a health care provider is needed for the pop-up sites.
Vermonters with who do have symptoms, even if they are mild, should call their health care provider to be referred to a testing site.
Quarantine Guidance for People Returning to Vermont
If you are a returning Vermonter ─ including those who spend winter outside of Vermont, second home owners, college students ─ you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
If you are without COVID-19 symptoms at day 7 of your quarantine, you can be tested at one of the pop-up clinics being conducted around the state. If your test is negative, you can end your quarantine period, as long as you still have no symptoms.
Learn more at https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
Vermonters with mild symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested
All Vermonters with even mild symptoms are encouraged to call their health care provider to get tested. This includes parents of children who have symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.
Your provider will refer you to a hospital or health center near you for the free testing. The sites. If you don’t have a health care provider call 2-1-1 to connect with a community or hospital-connected clinic.
In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms may include:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
We are relying on health care professionals to help achieve this important public health goal. Visit healthvermont.gov/covid19-providers for more information.
The path to restart Vermont
Governor Phil Scott announced a gradual reopening of the retail sector starting on May 18. Stores will be required to stay under 25% of their maximum legal capacity and follow health and safety guidelines developed by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Stores must meet the same guidelines developed for other businesses and nonprofits so far, including:
- All employees must wear a face covering (customers are encouraged to wear them as well).
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet between people.
- Conduct health and safety training.
Child care centers can reopen June 1 and summer day camps will be able to open this summer, provided they can follow safety guidelines expected to be issued this week. Education officials have also provided guidance on end-of-the-year gatherings. Large gatherings will not be permitted through the end of the school year, and events should be virtual.
Vermonters can now participate in outdoor recreation and limited social interactions under strict health and safety precautions. Read the Governor’s May 6 press release. Review the Health Department’s guidelines on how to weigh the risks and connect with family and friends safely.
Keep a list of your close contacts
As the state slowly reopens, Vermonters should consider keeping a contact journal – a list of other people who you have been in close contact with each day. If you did get sick, this would make it easier to get in touch with those people and so they can take proper precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
New on healthvermont.gov
The Health Department has posted a new Weekly Summary of Vermont COVID-19 Data to help tell a more in-depth story of how the virus has impacted people in our state. Among the data in the report are:
- Prevalence of symptoms
- Testing trends
- Information about hospitalizations
- Cases associated with outbreaks
- Effect on people with preexisting conditions
- Demographic data
The summary includes data from March 5 to May 7, 2020 and will be updated every Friday.
Our data dashboard on healthvermont.gov/covid19 now includes the estimated number of people who have recovered from COVID-19.
We calculate this recovery estimate in two ways:
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 report they have recovered to our investigation teams during their follow-up calls.
- Thirty days or more have passed since the date the person’s illness began. (If that information is not available, we use the date the positive test is reported to the Health Department.)
Read more info about our data by clicking on About Dashboard Data – New Questions on People Recovered – above the data dashboard.
As of 11:00 a.m. on May 12, 2020
Hospitalized under investigation
Total people recovered
People being monitored
People completed monitoring
*Includes testing conducted at the Health Department Laboratory, commercial labs and other public health labs.
+Death occurring in persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending.
Hospitalization data is provided by the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition and is based on hospitals updating this information.
Find more information on new data dashboard at healthvermont.gov/covid19 by clicking on the map of Vermont.
Guidance for Vermonters
Who to contact:
- If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital.
- If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider.
- Most information is online: Visit our regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions.
You can also type in a question to our Ask A Question tool.
- If you still have health-related COVID-19 questions, call the Health Department at 802-863-7240.
- For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1 or 1-866-652-4636.
Keep a Distance and Wear a Mask
We still need to physically distance ourselves from one another and follow other health guidance. Keep 6 feet between you and other people, and give each other a wide berth when walking or biking. Make wearing cloth face coverings a habit whenever we leave home. Learn more about why and how we need to wear masks.
For more outdoors information, visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19
Take Care of Your Emotional and Mental Health
Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless is common during an infectious disease outbreak. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs emotional support, help is available 24/7:
- Call your local mental health crisis line
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- Text VT to 741741 to talk with someone at the Crisis Text Line.
- For more information visit healthvermont.gov/suicide.
CASES BY COUNTY
On March 13, Governor Phil Scott declared a state of emergency to help ensure Vermont has all the necessary resources to respond to this evolving threat. Executive Order | Press Release | Governor's Video Message| Governor's Press Conference
The strategies continue to be updated based on guidance from federal and state public health officials. They currently include:
- On April 10, extended Vermont’s State of Emergency through May 15, which also extends the expiration date of all corresponding orders and directives issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Addendum 9 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On April 7, requested federal disaster funds to assist the state of Vermont in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The request asks for federal Public Assistance (PA) funds for the state and all towns for costs incurred in the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Individual Assistance, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance/Regular Services Program for all Vermont counties. Press Release
- On March 30, Governor Scott ordered residents and non-residents coming from outside the state for anything other than an essential purpose to home-quarantine for 14 days and strongly discourages travel to Vermont by those located in COVID-19 “hot spots" designated by the CDC. Addendum 7 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
On March 26, Governor Scott directed directed schools to remain dismissed for in-person insutrction through the end of the 2019-2020 school year and ordered districts to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. Directive 5 | Press Release | Guidance | Governor Scott's Remarks | Governor's Video Message | Governor's Press Conference
On March 24, Governor Scott issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and directed the closure of in-person operations for all non-essential businesses (effective March 25-May 15). Addendum 6 | Press Release | Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses | ACCD Contact form for Businesses |Summary Document | Governor's Video Message | Governor's Press Conference
On March 23, Governor Scott ordered telecommuting or work from home procedures for all businesses and not-for-profit entities, to the maximum extent possible (effective March 23-May 15). Addendum 5 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
On March 20, Governor Scott ordered suspension of all non-essential adult elective surgery and medical surgical procedures. Addendum 3
On March 17, Governor Scott directed childcare centers across the state to close normal operations but encouraged continued operation exclusively where needed to provide childcare services for workers who are essential to Vermont’s ongoing effort in community mitigation of COVID-19. Directive 2 | Guidance | Press Release |Governor's Press Conference
On March 15, Governor Scott directed the dismissal of PreK-12 schools and development of a Continuity of Education Plan. Directive 1 | Guidance | Press Release |Governor's Video Message | Governor's Press Conference
On March 13, Governor Scott restricted visitor access at long-term care facilities. Guidance
On April 17, Governor Phil Scott outlined an approach for the phased restart of Vermont’s economy, emphasizing the state’s modeling indicates initial steps can be taken to put some Vermonters back to work, while the Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect. This process is being done in close consultation with the experts at the Vermont Department of Health, and based on the state's modeling.
The Governor also outlined five principles, developed in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Health, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), ACCD and others, which will guide the state’s Restart Vermont planning and decision-making process. They are:
- Keep our eyes on the data
- Maintain health care readiness
- Increase testing and tracing
- Work Smarter & Work Safer
- Play Smarter & Play Safer
Restart efforts under these principles include:
- On May 6, nnounced that outdoor recreation and limited social interactions may resume under strict health and safety precautions, as state modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of COVID-19. Addendum 13 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On May 4, announced limited elective procedures would resume, which had previously been put on hold as Vermont’s health care system focused on preparing for, and responding to, COVID-19. Ammendment to Addendum 3 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On May 1, announced a third incremental, evidence-based step forward to put Vermonters back to work. Addendum 12 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On April 29, the state is significantly increasing and strengthening its testing and contact tracing programs in order to quickly identify, contain and suppress outbreaks of COVID-19. Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On April 24, outlined some additional openings as part of the phased restart of Vermont’s economy. Addendum 11 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
- On April 17, outlined an approach for the phased restart of Vermont’s economy, emphasizing the state’s modeling indicates initial steps can be taken while the Stay Home/Stay Safe order remains in effect. Addendum 10 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference
“I want every Vermonter to know I understand fully the incredible economic and emotional toll coronavirus is having and will continue to have on each and every one of us. As we continue to work on our first mission to protect the health of Vermonters, we also know financial security is critical for us to recover from this pandemic as well… Let me be clear: my team and I are fully aware these initiatives are not enough. People are hurting and businesses are at risk. Let me assure you: we will pull every lever and turn every dial we can to support folks through this time.” – Governor Phil Scott, March 20, 2020
The Scott Administration has implemented several initiatives – and announced forthcoming action on others – to help provide relief for individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19 mitigation measures.
** For details on available benefits for individuals, both through state and federal action, please visit accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/individuals **
- Made unemployment available to all Vermonters who can’t work because of coronavirus.
- Waived the work search requirement for those who are laid off or had their hours reduced during this emergency.
- Established an online form for initial unemployment insurance claims to help Vermonters submit claims more quickly.
- Worked with the legislature to allow the extension of unemployment insurance benefits for those who can’t work due to childcare needs during the State of Emergency.
- Worked with the legislature to provide unemployment insurance experience rating relief to employers for temporary layoffs and good cause for quits due to COVID-19.
- Directed insurers to cover any medically necessary COVID-19 testing without charging any out of pocket costs for the patient.
- Directed insurers to make at least a 30-day supply of prescription medication available and encouraged insurers to make a larger supply available when appropriate.
- The Department of Financial Regulation is working with MVP and Blue Cross Blue Shield to encourage the insurers to make sure no one loses their healthcare coverage during this time.
- Urging insurers to expand coverage and reimbursement of telemedicine services, including for office services provided over the phone (audio-only) or by “store-and-forward” means that are currently appropriate for telemedicine, as well as for a broader scope of services, including mental health.
- Announced an emergency regulation requiring commercial insurers to waive cost-sharing requirements, such as co-payments, coinsurance or deductible requirements, for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. The emergency regulation is retroactive to March 13, 2020, the date that Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency.
Utilities and Connectivity
- The Public Service Department has been working with our utilities to ensure that folks are not disconnected during this emergency due to inability to pay. Vermont utilities have overwhelmingly stepped up and their cooperation was acknowledged in the PUC’s recent order to formalize this protection.
- Public Service Department has published an interactive map of free Wi-Fi hotspots to support our students and workers now learning and working remotely as well as a web page detailing new connectivity resources to help keep folks in touch and get on-line during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Will work with the legislature to ease barriers to construction of essential communications facilities to ensure systems are not interrupted in this time of critical need.
- Worked with the Legislature to put in place a temporary moratorium on disconnections from public drinking water and wastewater systems
- Announced an innovative collaboration with several partners that will increase internet access by means of public Wi-Fi hotspots for dozens of rural towns in Vermont. Deployment is already underway with installation of devices which begun Saturday, April 11.
Small Business Support
** For details on available resources and funding for businesses, both through state and federal action, please visit accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business **
- Applied for and secured a statewide disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration, which will small business owners suffering economic injury due the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), offering up to $2 million in assistance per business.
- Provided relief to Vermont businesses who owe Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax until further notice, waiving penalties and interest for late submission of these taxes for taxpayers who are unable to meet the March 25 and April 25 filing deadlines.
- Worked with the legislature to make sure businesses unemployment insurance experience ratings are not negatively affected by the expansion of coverage for workers.
Working with the legislature to provide funding to support small business loans through the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to provide state fund disaster relief loans.
- Eased liquor laws to allow restaurants—which can currently only offer takeout and delivery—to sell alcoholic beverages as part of takeout service.
- The Department of Health’s Food and Lodging licensing program will grant license extensions to all businesses (which includes restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, caterers, etc.) that are due for renewal March 1,2020 - June 30, 2020.
- ACCD is providing resources to support businesses with technical assistance, regular guidance and more at accd.vermont.gov.
- The Department of Liquor and Lottery’s liquor licensing and permitting program will grant license extensions to all businesses that are due for renewal on April 30, 2020.
Flexibility and Relief
- Extended income tax filing due dates from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020, allowing taxpayers to file and pay income taxes on or before July 15, 2020 without any penalty or interest.
- The Department of Financial Regulation is encouraging financial institutions to provide flexibility for customers by waiving fees, delaying loan repayments, and more.
- The Department of Motor Vehicles shifted to online, phone and mail services, and is granting a 90-day extension for all license and registration renewals.
- Working to ease ANR’s procedural requirements to accommodate surge capacity needs at healthcare facilities.
- Working to ease regulatory burdens on healthcare professionals and extend licensing renewals to give our healthcare providers more flexibility on licensing, staffing and referrals.
- Worked with Allstate and its affiliate insurance companies to reduce their auto insurance premiums for Vermont policyholders by approximately 15% due to reduced driving during the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will amount to over $500,000 in savings for Vermonters.
- Extended April vehicle extensions 60 days.
- On April 21, announced a multi-state initiative to secure student loan relief options for thousands of Vermonters with privately held student loans.