Health Department so far finds no indication of COVID-19 spreading in the community
A week after reports first surfaced of a potential outbreak in the Manchester area, 35 of 63 people with a positive antigen test for Covid-19 reported to the Health Department by Manchester Medical Center since July 10 have had a PCR test, the state reported Sunday, July 19.
Of those 35, 33 were negative and 2 were positive by PCR test.
The Vermont Department of Health treated all positive antigen tests as presumed positive cases, and has been reaching out to each person to give public health guidance to isolate, trace their contacts, and recommend a confirmatory PCR test.
As of July 18, all but 7 of the 63 people who had positive antigen tests had been contacted. Among those interviewed, most are not symptomatic, and have not been linked to other possible cases.
“Although the Health Department’s investigation is not complete, it appears that a majority of the positive antigen results have not been confirmed by subsequent PCR testing,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “We have not yet found connections that would lead us to believe there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in Bennington or Windham counties.”
PCR testing was offered to the public last week in Manchester and Londonderry. All 405 specimens analyzed by the Health Department Laboratory were negative.
“This is a good indication that Covid-19 is not spreading in the community,” said Dr. Levine. “It does not mean, however, that people should relax their prevention practices: wearing a mask, keeping a 6 foot distance, frequent handwashing, and staying home when sick.”