Cases Spike as Vermont Approaches 400

GovBriefingFriVERMONT - On Friday, Governor Phil Scott along with his COVID-19 task force held a press briefing to update Vermonters on the growing concerns for COVID-19.

With 51 new positive results and no confirmed deaths in the last 24 hours, this brings Vermont's total of confirmed positive cases to 389.

 "Today we saw a significant increase in positive cases, well above what we have experienced in the past few days," said Governor Phil Scott, "We are going to see outbreaks and we can't take our foot off the gas, social distancing and washing your hands continue to be the most effective tool we have to reduce the spread and make sure we don't overwhelm our hospitals."

The Vermont Department of Health is now advising people who are non symptomatic for COVID-19 to wear masks in public based off new data.

"We are recommending that Vermonters wear cloth face masks in public even if they have no symptoms. Now we know from more recent data, that pre symptomatic spread of COVID-19 is possible especially in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset," says Commissioner of Health Dr. Levine.

With the 'Stay at Home' order placed by Governor Scott last week, this has caused a lot of economic uncertainty and has put a strain on many families and businesses. Governor Scott reminded the public on resources available due to actions on the state and federal level.

"First, as a result by the cares act passed by congress most will receive a one time check of $1,200 and if you filed taxes last year, you don't have to do anything. The money will either be deposited in your bank account later this month or a check will be sent in the mail" says Scott. "Second, we have expanded unemployment eligibility to waive many requirements. For the first time, you can file for these benefits online and there will be an additional $600 added each week. And third, support will also be available to self employed Vermonters and independent contractors all though we are still awaiting guidance from the feds, but we expect to see that soon."

Two websites you can visit for additional help and information are SBA.gov and accd.vermont.gov

Earlier this week, Governor Scott also called on Vermonter to support the COVID-19 response. Even before this crisis, Vermont faced a workforce shortage across all sectors, especially in healthcare.

"We need to build reserves, so we are asking those with medical experience to volunteer for our medical reserve core," said Scott.

If you have experience please visit Vermont.gov/volunteer.

While it is important for everyone to stay home in order to save lives, the Governor and his task force advise everyone to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air in a safe manner.

"Being outdoors has probably never been more important" says Scott. "Exercise, fresh air and enjoying Vermont's nature can help manage the stress and uncertainty that we are experiencing."

Vermont's cases are expected to peak come mid April, early May says Scott and his task force who want to remind everyone that we are all in this together and with good practice of social distancing, we will flatten the curve.