COVID-19

Hang-in just a bit longer, Vermonters, and we’ll be able to return to pre-COVID lives by May or June, if we remain diligent. That was Gov. Phil Scott’s message at his Tuesday, April 6, press conference — a twice-weekly event that has become the epitome of public transparency and press access. In that press conference, Gov. Scott cited much good news, but also news of a spike of COVID cases among younger Vermonters. The good news was that 90% of Vermonters 65 and older had received at least the first COVID vaccine shot, ranking it first in the nation. The state ranks fourth in the nation for...
BRANDON — The Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union is handling two new COVID cases at the Neshobe School in Brandon as cases continue to spike in Vermont. The development led Superintendent Jeanne Collins to declare April 5 and 6 remote learning days for all Neshobe students. In her email message to parents on Easter Sunday, Collins apologized for the short notice. “While the close contacts have yet to be tested, given the number of classrooms involved and the increase in numbers in both the school and the community, we have decided to move the school into full Distance Learning for Monday,...
MIDDLEBURY — After keeping most visitors from the hospital and nursing home for a year to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, Porter Hospital and Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing today are easing some visitor restrictions. It is part of a loosening of constraints across the University of Vermont Health Network’s three Vermont hospital, which also includes the University of Vermont Medical Center and Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin. Based on the latest guidance from the state of Vermont, UVMHN is allowing some fully vaccinated people into inpatient areas at its...

CANOES WILL AGAIN launch — albeit with socially distance paddlers — at Camp Songadeewin this summer. Songadeewin for girls, Keewaydin for boys and Point CounterPoint for young musicians will all be back in session on the shores of Lake Dunmore following a year lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Ellen Flight
SALISBURY — The familiar sounds of laughing, shouting, splashing and playing — both the youthful abandon and instrumental varieties — will once again tickle the ears of those living near Lake Dunmore this summer. That’s because three popular camps — Keewaydin, Songadeewin and Point CounterPoint — will reopen to children this summer after a one-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Demand has been high and is coming steadily at this point,” said Camp Songadeewin Director Ellen Flight, who reported the first month at both Songadeewin and Keewaydin is already booked solid, with waiting...
UPDATED: The VA will be vaccinating vets in Middlebury with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   MIDDLEBURY — The White River Junction Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and Middlebury College are partnering in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. On April 10 the VA will be administering doses of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine at Middlebury College’s Athletics Complex on South Main Street. This clinic is for Veterans and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees by appointment only.   “Partnerships within our communities across Vermont and New Hampshire are the key...

Congressman Peter Welch
VERGENNES — Vergennes will soon receive the first half of $756,383 in federal COVID-19 aid from the American Rescue Plan Act, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., told the Vergennes City Council on Tuesday. The Addison Northwest School District will also receive $1.76 million, Welch told the council.  There are strings attached on how that money can be spent, Vermont’s Congressman added. Spending has to be related to the impact on the community related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Welch said, and there are components related to helping nonprofits and supporting water, sewer and broadband projects. “You are...

Note: This chart includes only the “non-entitlement municipality” allocations from the ARPA, not the additional allocation that Rep. Welch outlined for Vergennes in the accompanying story.
VERMONT — Congress has passed and the President on March 11 signed the next COVID relief legislation allocating $1.9 trillion for relief. The new law is known as the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. Vermont Congressman Peter Welch spoke to the Vergennes City Council on Tuesday about that city's allocation. Additional resources will come into Vermont through competitive programs, unemployment insurance benefits, and other means, but Vermont will directly receive an estimated $2.7 billion. See below for an outline of the legislation organized by where the dollars will go and what the funds...
MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott last Friday lifted some COVID-19 restrictions on Vermont restaurants, bars and clubs. The policy was due to take effect on Wednesday, March 24. Bars and clubs were allowed to sit people of different households together with a maximum of six people per table, according to the governor’s website. Other social distancing and capacity requirements remain in place. Like restaurants, bars are limited to 50% occupancy. Seating must be available for all patrons, with parties spaced six feet apart. Bar seating is allowed only if there is a physical barrier, like plexiglass...

NATIONAL GUARDSWOMAN MARIANNE Powell prepared doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the MUHS gym at a recent special clinic for Vermont educators. The Guard brought enough vaccine to inoculate 400 educators. Independent photo/Megan James
I was pleased to see the Vermont National Guard stepping up to provide COVID-19 vaccine to teachers in a photo spread in the March 18 Addison Independent, however I was shocked to see Guard members preparing vaccine without wearing gloves. There were several photos portraying members of the Guard actually; none were wearing gloves. Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that nursing protocols require the wearing of gloves at all times when working with vaccine. This oversight is not what we need, when some people already have reservations about the safety of getting the vaccine...
MONTPELIER — Practices for high school interscholastic sports have been OK’d to begin April 5 and competitions are allowed to start April 17. That’s the word after the Vermont Principals’ Association recently released guidelines for a spring season that reflect official state approval for all interscholastic sports. The only exception to the April 5 practice rule is that baseball pitchers may begin supervised workouts on March 29.  Many of the same sort of COVID-19 protocols that applied during the fall and winter seasons will apply this spring, including that all “players, coaches, officials...

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Addison County Independent