Vermont Governor Phil Scott and members of his administration gave an update on the state’s COVID-19 response this morning.
Vermont’s Republican governor began his briefing noting that many surrounding states and provinces are experiencing an increase in COVID cases, which he said is expected as cooler weather settles in. Scott says people should continue to wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines and limit the number of people at gatherings. Governor Scott said he, Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Human Services Secretary Mike Smith got a flu shot Tuesday morning. “And I would encourage everyone who can to have one. Even if you’ve never gotten one before this is the year to do it. It’s an important part of keeping the capacity of our health care system open in order to care for COVID patients if needed as well protect our health care workers.”
Dr. Levine added his admonition that people should get a flu shot. “Even if you get your flu shot and you still get the flu the vaccine can reduce the severity of the illness you will have and the symptoms you will have. During the 2018 to 2019 flu season Vermonters were hospitalized due to flu more than 1,800 times. By keeping flu out of the picture we can avoid what I’ve termed this twin-demic.”
New long-term care guidelines were announced by Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith. Among the rules implemented Monday are staff testing, screening, distancing, mask wearing, limits on number of visitors, collection of visitor information and possible pre-visit quarantines. “It is important to remember that increasing visitors to a facility will increase the risk of potential virus transmission. Our guidance takes the requirement to allow indoor visitation and creates strict and specific guardrails to define how to conduct indoor visitation as safely as possible. Facilities will be held to high standards and visitors will be held to the same high standards. We know that an inability to see family and loved ones has had an impact on our long-term care residents. We want to ensure that we address that impact while still keeping our long term care residents safe.”
The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation provides weekly modeling and tracking of the virus both in Vermont and across the country. Commissioner Michael Pieciak reported that over the past 14 days parts of the Great Plains and the Midwest have seen large numbers of cases. While Vermont is faring better combined numbers over the past two weeks indicate a slight rise in COVID cases. “Getting to our most recent modeling forecast cases are expected to slightly go up over the rest of the month and into November. This had been anticipated for a number of weeks although our case counts have stayed relatively low. Nothing that is a cause for concern but certainly is a good reminder for us to continue to adhere to all the public health guidelines”
No one is currently hospitalized in Vermont for COVID-19.