By Lola Duffort/VTDigger
Vermont now has 12 confirmed coronavirus cases, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at a press conference on Monday, March 16.
The state had eight confirmed cases as of Sunday evening, and just four when Governor Scott called for a state of emergency on Friday.
On Monday, Gov. Phil Scott amended his emergency declaration to limit public gatherings to either 50 people or 50% occupancy, whichever is less.
“Last night, CDC advised further limiting the size of public gatherings to 50. Based on that recommendation, I’m amending my executive order to limit gatherings to a maximum of 50,” Scott said.
“We’re continuously evaluating other mitigation steps,” Scott added. “We’ll continue to communicate those as they are being put into place.”
At least three of the four new cases are not travel related, but are “the result of person to person spread of illness in the community,” Levine said. The affected individuals are spread across the state and reside in Bennington, Chittenden, Orange, Washington and Windsor counties. Patients from Massachusetts and New York have also tested positive in Vermont.
The Department also updated the total number of tests, raising the total from 352 to 415.
As states and countries have grappled with a shortage of test kits, Vermont officials said they are determined to find the resources to test those who need it.
The state has increased its testing over the past week, peaking at 137 samples on Friday, according to stats from health department statistics. Vermont has 400 test kits on hand, Levine said.
Helen Reid, acting lab director for the state lab, told VTDigger last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had told her to expect a shortage of some test materials. The state has enough materials for the next two weeks, she said.
The health department is working with the University of Vermont Medical Center and the associated College of Medicine to manufacture some of the materials required for the test.
Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger
Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine discusses Vermont’s first COVID-19 patient at a press conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury on March 8.