VDH COVID-19 Update: Cases in five schools and 12 at a rink, flu shots urged

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VDH COVID-19 Update: Cases in five schools and 12 at a rink, flu shots urged

Tue, 10/13/2020 - 5:17pm -- tim

Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

October 13, 2020

New or updated information is in red and bold.

This update is available online at healthvermont.gov/covid19

Click the “See the Latest Update” button.

Please visit the Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 web and data pages
healthvermont.gov/covid19

Outbreak Update

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said on Tuesday that the Health Department is currently investigating a small number of cases tied to five schools, but emphasized we still have not discovered any instances of transmission within the school. (South Burlington High School, Williston Central, Windsor School, Manchester Elementary and Essex Elementary.)

“The school-associated cases are among people who have been exposed to the virus in the community, outside of school,” Dr. Levine said. “Leaders at the schools have been helpful, and we appreciate their communications to keep students, staff, teachers and communities informed.”

The department is also investigating 12 new cases among people associated with hockey – both youth league and adult team members – all in the Montpelier-Central Vermont area. Contact tracing is underway, and the exact mode of transmission is not yet clear – whether due to playing hockey, or to activities incidental to the sport, such as carpooling or travel to a game, team gatherings or group meals, Dr. Levine said.

A few of the youth players are included among cases in some of the school investigations, he added. We are recommending testing for those involved, but not for the community at large.

Dr. Birx offers lessons for Vermont

Dr Deborah Birx sports a UVM scarf during a virtual press conference Saturday. She wore a surgical mask during the entire event, including for the Q&A with reporters. Screen shot.

Dr. Deborah Birx — the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force — came to the University of Vermont last weekend as part of a national tour to gather information on best practices in higher education in the COVID-19 response.

Dr. Levine said he and Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith were also able to speak with Dr. Birx, and she was impressed with college restart efforts — including comprehensive testing protocols — and the low positivity rates here in Vermont.

But Dr. Birx also noted the experiences of states like Wyoming and Montana, which used to have rates like ours. She attributes much of the increase in cases those states have seen to tourism and, specifically, to residents leaving the state for hotter zones and then returning home with infection, Dr. Levine said.

Dr Birx said that Asia was able to get through the pandemic quicker and with less disastrous results then the US because they previously had lived through SARS and MERS and were prepared to implement the necessary protocols to deal with it, like mask wearing and social distancing.

“She noted, similar to our Vermont data, that much COVID transmission occurs within households and close friends, where trust is high,” Dr. Levine said. “It’s important that we do not fall into the trap of thinking that just because people are our close relatives or friends, and we know them well, that we can know with certainty whether or not they may have been exposed to the virus – especially if they live in an area where incidence of COVID is higher.”

He reminded Vermonters:

  • Think about any travel plans carefully and check the travel map.
  • The vast majority of the region now requires a quarantine: Either for 14 days, or with a negative PCR test on or after day 7 of quarantine.
  • Know what it means to quarantine — staying home and away from other people.

Time to Get Your Flu Shot

Photo from left of Governor Scott, Dr Levine, Secretary Smith getting their flu shots and look pretty stoic in doing so. Courtesy governor's office.

Dr. Levine, along with Governor Phil Scott and Human Services Secretary Mike Smith, got his flu shot Tuesday and encouraged Vermonters to do the same.

So far this year, Vermonters are doing just that: flu vaccinations are about 9.6% higher than last year. Both children and adults in their 60s and 70s are doing better than last year, but people in their 20s and early 30s are behind.

Dr. Levine appealed to anyone who is ambivalent about getting a flu shot, or are sitting on the fence, to remember how important it is to do their part to “keep flu out of the picture,” at a time when COVID-19 is still spreading.

Who should get a flu shot?

  • Anyone over 6 months old, with rare exceptions
  • People in a high-risk group or who has underlying health conditions

Where can I get my flu shot?

  • From your health care provider
  • At your local pharmacy
  • At a flu clinic near you

Go to healthvermont.gov/flu to learn more about the flu, the vaccine and find where to get a flu shot near you. Flu vaccine continues to arrive in the state, and your local pharmacies and providers don’t yet have a supply, they will soon.

Case Information

Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont

As of 12 p.m. on October 13, 2020

Description

 

Number

 

Total cases*

 

1,886

(11 new)

 

Currently hospitalized

 

0

 

Hospitalized under investigation

 

5

 

Total people recovered

 

1,673

 

Deaths+

 

58

 

People tested

 

174,560

 

Travelers monitored

 

664

 

Contacts monitored

 

50

 

People completed monitoring

 

9,409

 

* 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 at the data dashboard: healthvermont.gov/currentactivity

New Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities and Adult Day Programs

Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced new guidance Tuesday for long-term care facilities and adult day programs, which can be found on the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living’s Restart Vermont web page. Based on new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulatory guidance, indoor visitation will be allowed within strict parameters at nursing homes in counties with less than a 10% positivity rate.

Guidance for Vermonters and Businesses

If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital.

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider.

Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet and wear a mask when near others.

Key Guidance:

Health information, guidance and data: healthvermont.gov/covid19

By sector guidance: accd.vermont.gov/covid-19

Travel map and modeling: dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling

Governor’s actions: governor.vermont.gov/covid19response

Get the information you need at our Frequently Asked Questions.

Return to School Guidance

More resources on our Schools, Colleges and Child Care Programs web page.

Traveler Information

Visit our Travel to Vermont web page for continually updated information and guidance, including about quarantine requirements, testing, and to sign up with Sara Alert for symptom check reminders.

The cross-state travel map is now updated each Tuesday.

Getting Tested for COVID-19

Anyone can get tested, but not everyone needs to get tested.

Talk with your health care provider If you think you should be tested for COVID-19.

If you don’t have a provider, dial 2-1-1, or contact the nearest federally qualified health center or one of Vermont's free & referral clinics.

Visit our testing web page for more guidance and where to get tested if you do need it.

Take Care of Your Emotional and Mental Health

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs emotional support, help is available 24/7:

Get self-help tips and connect to mental health services at COVID Support VT.

See ways for Coping with Stress.