Coronavirus updates, Featured

State expands COVID-19 testing

At a press conference on Friday, March 27, Governor Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine, M.D., announced that aggressive procurement of supplies has allowed the state to broaden the scope of its testing efforts.

Until now, limited supplies required restricting prioritized testing to high risk patients. Dr. Levine said health care providers are now able to include people with mild to moderate symptoms in making clinical referrals for priority testing.

Hospitals and federally qualified Health Centers throughout Vermont have been at the forefront of the state’s COVID-19 response and are receiving these newly available supplies for specimen collection.

“Early and broad testing is a proven strategy to limit the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Levine. “Vermont is still early enough on the curve of positive cases that increased testing can have a large impact on our ability to flatten that curve.”

The Vermont Department of Health, in collaboration with the medical division of the National Guard Civil Support Team, announced they set up an additional COVID-19 patient test site at Landmark College in Putney. This site was established to provide additional testing capacity for people who have a referral from their health care provider.

The Landmark College site is the latest addition to the increasing number of temporary pop-up, drive-through and other facilities being established to help ensure as many Vermonters as possible can be tested.

The Landmark College testing site began to see referred patients on Sunday, March 29, and will operate from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the week. The hours and days open will depend on the availability of testing supplies.

Health officials emphasized that people cannot simply show up at a testing site or drive-through location. Everyone must still talk with their health care provider and be formally referred for testing.

“Our overall strategy is to test, to counsel and isolate those who test positive, conduct contact tracing, and quarantine as clinically appropriate,” said Dr. Levine. “We are all counting on each other to do everything we can to meet this public health crisis head on.”

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