Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Staff Writer

Be Smart, Stay Safe
As state modeling continues to show a positive outlook, Governor Phil Scott Friday announced the following:
Close-contact businesses, such as gyms, fitness centers, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, and businesses that require home visits may resume operations beginning on June 1
Additional dental procedures are authorized, including aerosol-generating procedures that follow safety standards set forth in Health Department guidance
Limited overnight youth summer camp programming beginning June 7, with additional options for quarantine
An increase in the size of social gatherings to 25 people. All are urged to continue to follow distancing and facial covering guidance as appropriate

All businesses must adhere to health and safety requirements set by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Gov. Scott thanked Vermonters for being smart and safe, using common sense and making good choices, and urged everyone to keep up the good work.

Cluster Investigation
Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the Health Department is investigating a small cluster of cases (fewer than 6) among members of the Winooski community. This is not an outbreak of the virus spreading throughout the city.

The department has been in contact with the individuals and is providing appropriate guidance and recommendations – including for self-isolation and quarantine. The contact tracing team has been reaching out to any of these individuals’ close contacts to identify any further risk and need for testing. In addition to closely working with Winooski city officials, Health staff have been in contact with community-based organizations, on education and follow-up efforts.

To protect patient privacy, we cannot offer any more details at this time. Members of the Winooski community should follow the same precautions as all Vermonters: continue to practice physical distancing, use face coverings when in the presence of others, regularly wash your hands and stay home if you’re sick.

Take Steps to Prevent the Spread of Rabies in Pets and Wildlife
As we all spend more time outdoors and encounter wildlife, health officials are reminding Vermonters to take precautions against rabies.

Both people and pets may come into more contact with wild animals this time of year as days get longer and warmer — including baby animals. The best thing to do is leave wildlife alone and enjoy them from a distance.

Pets should be vaccinated for rabies. State law requires dogs and cats to be vaccinated — even barn cats. Health officials noted a recent case of rabies in a barn cat from the town of Addison, which likely became infected from contact with local rabid wildlife.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease of the brain that infects mammals and is fatal to both humans and animals. In Vermont, rabies is most commonly found in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats and woodchucks. Cats, dogs and livestock can also get rabies if they have not been vaccinated for rabies.
Case Information
Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont
As of 11:00 a.m. on May 29, 2020

Total cases*
Currently hospitalized
Hospitalized under investigation
Total people recovered
People tested
People being monitored
People completed monitoring

Testing Information

More COVID-19 Pop-Up Test Sites Open for Asymptomatic Vermonters
The Health Department has opened nearly two dozen additional pop-up sites located throughout the state to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 for the virus. Specimen collection is happening with the assistance of trained Emergency Medical Service providers and members of the Vermont National Guard.

Appointment slots are still available. Find locations and make an appointment to be tested at humanresources.vermont.gov/popups. You can also call 2-1-1 or 802-828-2828. All clinics operate from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We especially encourage health care workers, first responders, child care providers, and people returning to Vermont – such as college students, people who winter out of state and second home owners – to consider being tested.

Vermonters With Even Mild Symptoms Should Call Their Doctor to Be Tested
People with even mild symptoms are encouraged to call their health care provider to get tested. This includes parents of children who have possible symptoms. Your health care provider will ensure you receive proper care and treatment.

If you don’t have a health care provider: Dial 2-1-1 to connect with a community or hospital-connected clinic.

Take Steps to Prevent Water Quality Issues Before Your Business Reopens
Owners and managers of buildings that have been closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are urged to take steps that can prevent illnesses associated with stagnant water in plumbing systems.
Food Distribution
The Vermont Foodbank and the Vermont National continue to distribute meals to those in need throughout May and June. Supplies at each site are limited. For the full list of locations and details, visit: https://vem.vermont.gov/pods

Make Wearing a Mask a Habit
As Vermont gradually opens, wearing face coverings is more important than ever. Recent evidence indicates masks do seem to reduce respiratory droplet transmission, but compliance must be high for this strategy to work. Taking our mask with us when we go out is as important as is taking our car keys and wallets.

Even with a mask, we still need to keep 6 feet between ourselves and other people. Learn more about why and how we need to wear masks.

Keep a List of Your Close Contacts
Health officials suggest that Vermonters keep a journal of contacts – a list of other people with whom you have been in close contact with each day. If you get sick, this will make it easier to get in touch with those people and so they can take precautions to prevent further spread of COVID-19, including being tested if recommended.

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