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Vermont Governor reflects on second anniversary of COVID-19 pandemic

Vermont Statehouse  (file photo)
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott reflected on the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic during his weekly briefing Tuesday afternoon.

The Republican recalled that it was March 13th, 2020 when he declared a State of Emergency and signed an Executive Order that closed schools and businesses and implemented a Stay Home-Stay Safe policy across the state.

Scott said since then Vermont has led the way to a new phase of learning to manage and live with COVID-19 and its variants.

“It’s still important to pause and reflect on the toll it’s taken. Saturday March 19th will mark the two year anniversary of our first confirmed COVID death in Vermont. I’ll be ordering the U.S. and Vermont flags to half-staff to honor the memories of those we’ve lost." Scott added, "Even though we’re transitioning to a new phase as a country and COVID isn’t having the same effect on our daily lives as it once did we can’t forget what we’ve gone through. And because of the tools we now have and the knowledge we’ve gained we won’t need to relive the experience of the past 24 months.”

As the country and state transition to an endemic rather than pandemic stage, guidance for mandates that had once been imposed is changing. Vermont Commissioner of Health Dr. Mark Levine noted that while the virus is not gone huge strides have been made in testing, treatments and vaccinations. He summarized changes to Vermont’s public heath guidance regarding COVID-19 that went into effect Monday.

“I want to emphasize that the virus is still here and frankly will be with us to some extent for some time to come. So following these recommendations is still critical to protecting yourself and others. If you test positive you will need to isolate for five days. If you’re a close contact you do not need to quarantine but you should get tested if you’re not vaccinated or not up to date on your vaccines. Any close contact should get tested if they develop symptoms of course regardless of vaccination status.”

Dr. Levine added that the state is also making changes in testing.

“Rapid take home tests help you take action quickly if you test positive. We will now begin offering appointments for these types of tests at many of our Health Department test sites. Starting tomorrow when you make your appointment you will have the option to pick up a rapid take home test of the antigen type or a LAMP test. The LAMP test is similar to PCR but can be done at home. PCR will still be offered for those who need it for now, for example for a child under 2 or if you need a result letter for travel.”

According to the National Institutes of Health a LAMP, or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification, test detects viral RNA.

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