Daily Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) July 7, 2020

Staff Writer

Robust Contact Tracing Key to Limiting Virus Spread
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, said at a press conference Tuesday that the outbreaks and clusters we are monitoring are not expanding significantly. While that does not mean they are over, he said, it is a sign that our efforts to trace contacts of positive cases is working.
In Vermont, 97% of positive cases are interviewed by contact tracers within 48 hours of their test result.
“Timely interviews have been critical in interrupting disease transmission,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine added that in some places in the U.S. where coronavirus cases are currently surging, contact tracing is no longer a viable strategy, and those states are returning to mitigation strategies ─ such as asking people to stay home.

“The nation as a whole needs to learn from this experience right now,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine also addressed recent news that a group of 239 scientists in 32 countries wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization outlining evidence that smaller particles of the coronavirus in the air indoors can infect people.
While larger respiratory droplets fall to the floor mainly, these lighter, finer droplets — that are exhaled by all of us just from coughing or talking — can probably stay aloft for several hours, especially when there’s poor ventilation or overcrowding. Infections can occur if you have prolonged indoor contact with those aerosols.
“The message from all of this is we should continue to wash our hands a lot, but you’ll do a lot better if you also wear a facial covering,” Dr. Levine said.
Stay cool in the heat, and safe in the water
As the weather heats up, stay cool and hydrated, and listen to your body to prevent heat-related illness.
NEVER leave children, people with disabilities or pets inside a parked vehicle when it's hot.
And check on older adults and people with chronic medical conditions or disabilities, who are generally at higher risk during hot weather, especially if they live alone or don’t have air conditioning.
Learn more about how to stay safe when it’s hot out.
Swimming and water activities are a great way to get outside, cool off and keep a distance from others. But we urge Vermonters do so safely.
Vermont’s popular swim holes, rivers and streams offer some of summer’s best recreational opportunities. However, these areas can become unpredictable, dangerous and sometimes deadly in the days following storms and flash flooding.
Play it safe:
Be aware of the local weather patterns – summer storms can come on suddenly.
Always wear a life jacket while on a boat or kayak.
Don’t use alcohol while swimming or boating.
Swim with a buddy or in a group.
Know your limits: Even the strongest, most expert swimmer can get tired, be swept away or caught underwater by strong currents.
Designate an adult to be a “water watcher” so there is always someone to supervise children and teens.
When watching children, put down your cell phone and other distractions.
Avoid natural swim holes that can continue to exhibit high flow and dangerous currents following heavy rains and flash flooding.
Know that a person who is drowning likely won’t be able to splash or call for help — drowning is quick and silent.
Get more water safety tips.
College and University Guidance Released
State officials announced new guidance Tuesday for Vermont colleges and universities. Find the Mandatory Guidance for College and University Campus Learning on the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s website.
Case Information
Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont
As of 12 p.m. on July 7, 2020
Total cases*
(3 new)
Currently hospitalized
Hospitalized under investigation
Total people recovered
People tested
Travelers monitored
Contacts 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 at the data dashboard: healthvermont.gov/currentactivity.
Protest Safely and Get Tested
We support Vermonters engaging in peaceful protests and other civic activities to make their voices heard.
Please remember that large gatherings do pose a greater risk for virus exposure. So wear a mask if you can when near others, maintain a 6-foot distance, and if you're sick, find actions to make yourself heard from home.
We encourage anyone who is participating in a public action to get tested for COVID-19. Learn more about how to get tested.
Get Tested for COVID-19
People who want to be tested can contact their health care provider for a referral. Tests are conducted at a number of sites throughout the state. There are also urgent care centers offering testing.
Additionally, the Health Department is continuing to open pop-up sites for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested for the virus. Pop-up sites are currently scheduled through July, and operate from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Learn more about how to get tested.
Guidance for Vermonters
· If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital.
· If you are having even mild symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider.
· Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet and wear a mask when near others.
· Most information is available online: Visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

Traveler Information
Get the latest info about travel to Vermont, including for quarantining and testing.
Anyone coming to Vermont is strongly encouraged to sign up for Sara Alert daily symptom check reminders.
Take Care of Your Emotional and Mental Health
Concerns about our health and finances during the pandemic, and the unsettled state of national affairs, has left many of us feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless.
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.