COVID-19

Dear Governor Scott, I am disturbed by the unrefined nature of the recent COVID-19 mitigation pronouncement  — “Attendance at all public and private social gatherings, indoor and outdoor ... shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household.” I understand in urban areas and towns, where clusters in parks, yards and sidewalks may present close contact opportunities, that such measures are sensible. This does not account for the open spaces of rural towns and dirt roads where two residents may walk 10 to 15 feet apart and not meet another individual. I find the nature of...
I have been a strong supporter of Gov. Scott’s efforts to curb COVID-19 in Vermont. But with his most recent dictum, something has gone awry. I hope the governor and his team will consider another approach. It makes zero sense to me that under the new dictates, I can still go into a marginally ventilated restaurant and hang out with unmasked strangers while eating and drinking as much alcohol as the restaurant is willing to serve me in a marginally ventilated indoor space for the entire evening. Or I can go into a gym with others who are exercising and pump iron and exhale vigorously for...
Editor’s note: The writer of this letter spent 35 years working as an epidemiologist in state health departments before retiring a few years ago. Health Department Director Mark Levine and Gov. Phil Scott have been doing a good job communicating about the pandemic. There is, however, something they and others have not been emphasizing enough, in my epidemiologic opinion. Avoiding group events, wearing masks when unavoidably near other people, washing hands frequently and vigorously, and so on are indeed important. But the single best thing you can do to avoid infecting others is to stay home...
UPDATE: The college reported one additonal positive test result for another student after this story went to press yesterday, Wednesday, November 18. There are currently three active cases — and 24 student contacts under quarantine — on campus. MIDDLEBURY — Two more Middlebury College students have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 17 have been listed as "student contacts under quarantine," according to the latest data released by the college. It’s the first time Middlebury has recorded a positive case since September. The positive cases came from a batch of 504 tests conducted on...
Editor’s note: The writer of this letter spent 35 years working as an epidemiologist in state health departments before retiring a few years ago. Health Department Director Mark Levine and Gov. Phil Scott have been doing a good job communicating about the pandemic. There is, however, something they and others have not been emphasizing enough, in my epidemiologic opinion. Avoiding group events, wearing masks when unavoidably near other people, washing hands frequently and vigorously, and so on are indeed important. But the single best thing you can do to avoid infecting others is to stay home...

Erin Dufault, Mount Abraham Union High School counselor
Erin Dufault has been a high school counselor for 17 years, but nothing in her career could have prepared her for this pandemic moment. Now in her fourth year at Mount Abraham Union High School — which, like the other middle and high schools in our area, has embraced a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning — she sees students in person just two days a week. But she is making the most of that time. Like pretty much everyone everywhere, she has had to pivot. She used to provide daily support to students in her office, in hallways and cafeterias, and at college information nights. When...

Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine. Photo courtesy of VTDigger.org
Gov. Phil Scott on Friday said the state is “at a tipping point” with the recent influx of COVID-19 cases. He announced a ban on inter-household gatherings, the closure of bars and social clubs, and the cancellation of recreational sports leagues as the COVID-19 case count rises in Vermont. The governor said that too many Vermonters have not been following the state’s guidance on social distancing and limiting in-person gatherings. He, also indicated that Halloween parties contributed to the current rise in coronavirus cases. “Given our recent case growth, we have no choice but to restrict...
MIDDLEBURY — As COVID-19 cases rose to record levels in Vermont, Middlebury College announced Thursday evening it will move to a mandatory campus quarantine beginning 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, and continuing until students depart for the year on Saturday, Nov. 21. “Simply put, while we currently have no known cases of COVID-19 on campus, it is now imperative that we take ... steps to ensure the safest possible departure for students and to protect the entire community,” wrote Chief Health Officer Mark Peluso, Environmental Health & Safety Officer Jen Kazmierczac and Acting Dean of Students...
VERMONT — As Vermont grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases, like the rest of the country, state officials are putting in place slightly tighter restrictions designed to bolster social distancing and reduce the spread of the disease caused by the coronavirus.  Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday announced that Vermont is requiring a 14-day quarantine for every person coming to Vermont, or heading back into Vermont, for nonessential travel. The quarantine can be cut in half, to seven days, if the person tests negative for COVID-19. The state had been relying on a color-coded travel map — people from...
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s rifle deer season starts Saturday, Nov. 14, and runs through Nov. 29. Vermont hunters are being urged to keep COVID-19 safety measures in mind and use the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s online reporting system to report their deer.  “As virus rates continue to increase both in Vermont and regionally, it is important that hunters follow all of the Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 safety precautions, including wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance, and avoiding crowds,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore. If a person living in Vermont chooses...

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Addison County Independent