“Health officials truly believe that in the next six weeks we could be seeing numbers of 40 to 60 cases a day which could total to an additional 1,700 to 2,500 cases during that six-week period,” said emergency management director Jeff Campbell at a Warren Select Board meeting on November 10.
Campbell is in charge of keeping up to date with the state’s coronavirus status and relaying new information about case counts and health guidance to the select board. This week, Campbell’s coronavirus update showed concerning changes in both categories.
Regarding new cases in the state, Campbell reported that Vermont’s total case count reached 2,462 this week. “Cases statewide in the last 14 days are at 349. There are 12 people currently hospitalized and that’s the highest we’ve seen since April, which is concerning,” said Campbell. “Unfortunately, the other day we had our first death since July 28,” he added.
Cases in Washington County, home to the Mad River Valley, are going up as well. “There were 48 current positive cases in Washington County in the last 14 days. That includes the 12 just from yesterday,” reported Campbell. “Total cases in Washington County, since the beginning of the pandemic, are up to 180. We are the second highest in case count, only to Chittenden County.”
Campbell also took time to compare Vermont’s current coronavirus status to that of other states. “Texas today surpassed 1 million cases. I was surprised to see that number being that high,” said Campbell. “New York, our neighbor, has 532,000 total cases. Massachusetts has 172,000 total cases. New Hampshire is near 12,700 total cases. Maine is at 8,060 total cases.”
While cases are rising across the country, some solace can be found in Vermont’s relatively low total case count, as Campbell pointed out. “Wyoming, which has less people than we do, has nearly seven times the amount of cases that we do. In that sense, we’re doing good because we still have the lowest rates in the country. The closest is Maine which has 8,000.”
However, November 10 marked the fourth highest daily case count in Vermont since April. As cases continue to rise, state officials are doing more to educate the public about Vermont’s safety guidelines and quarantine requirements. Safety guidelines require people to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from one another while indoors. Vermont’s quarantine guidelines require out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the state or test out of quarantine by getting a negative coronavirus test after seven days of quarantine. Now, the state plans to administer compliance checks for both.
“The public safety commissioner stated that the statewide compliance checks would begin around November 12 with plain clothes officers visiting a variety of businesses,” said Campbell.
Moreover, the state has directed law enforcement officers to hand COVID information to out-of-state drivers. “They are finally cracking down. Law enforcement officers are going to be handing out COVID information during traffic stops,” said Campbell.