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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Vermont Coronavirus Updates For Sunday, April 5

Soldiers hoist a wall
Peter Hirschfeld
Members of the Vermont National Guard erect a wall Saturday for a 400-bed "surge" unit the Guard is constructing at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex.

Vermont reporters provide a round-up of ongoing local coverage of coronavirus for Sunday, April 5.


Weston Playhouse and Dorset Theatre Festival cancel summer seasons

Due to concerns about COVID-19, an estimated 30,000 summer visitors won't be attending theater productions in Southern Vermont this year.

Weston Playhouse Theatre Company and the Dorset Theatre Festival have both canceled their 2020 seasons.

"I realized, one, that I could be doing a disservice to my community by bringing these numbers of people into it at a moment of, you know, I don't want to use the word 'danger' but that is what it is, I suppose," said Susanna Gellert, executive director of Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.

Gellert said both companies will use the down time to expand their collaborative relationship and to explore new ways of reaching audiences online. 

Betty Smith


Burlington's mayor will give State of the City speech remotely on Monday

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger will give his State of the City speech remotely on Monday, April 5, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Weinberger said the event will be broadcast as a live-video teleconference beginning at 7 p.m.

City Hall will be closed, but everyone who wants to participate can do so through Zoom," Weinberger said. "When I say participate, we will be having a public forum, as we do in all public meetings." 

The evening will also feature the swearing in of the city councilors elected on Town Meeting Day. The Progressive Party picked up enough seats last month to win a majority on the council. 

Max Tracy, a Progressive, is expected to be elected city council president at the same meeting. 

For more about how to join the meeting or call in to participate, head here.

Liam Elder-Connors

Have questions, comments, concerns or experiences you want to share about coronavirus? Fill out VPR's brief survey here.

Number of COVID-19 cases in Vermont rises to 512

The  number of cases of COVID019 in Vermont rose to 512 on Sunday. The state has seen a sharp increase in cases, with more than 100 positive COVID-19 tests reported this weekend. 

In addition to the overall increase in confirmed cases, the state health department announced another two deaths. Twenty-two people who contracted the virus have now died. 

One of the new deaths was a patient at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, according to a spokesperson from the health department. The department did not provide details about the second person who died. 

Twenty-nine patients with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized. Another 45 are hospitalized and under investigation for the disease. 

The majority of the cases are in Chittenden County, where there are 271 confirmed cases of the virus, with Grand Isle and Essex counties still reporting no infections, according to the Vermont Department of Health. 

The state has now conducted over 6,500 tests.

Liam Elder-Connors

Questions about the new coronavirus? We've got answers. For a list of FAQs, head here.

Burlington plans to ticket people for disobeying stay at home order

Vermont’s largest city will now ticket people who don't follow Gov. Phil Scott's statewide stay-at-home order.

The new local order, signed by Mayor Miro Weinberger on Friday, allows the city to fine individuals and businesses $100 dollars for a first offense and as much as $500 dollars, if they disregard the governor’s executive order. 

Burlington police officers will issue tickets based on people’s behavior, Deputy Police Chief Jon Murad said. 

“If we witness people who are refusing to accede to education, refusing to accede to pleas for collaboration and cooperation that [will] keep everyone safe, then officers will take next steps,” he said during a press conference Friday. “And now those next steps now include the ability to ticket.”

The Attorney General’s office issued guidance to police agencies and municipalities on Friday about the governor’s executive order. Local law enforcement will refer potential civil and criminal violations of the governor’s order to the AG’s office. 

However, the guidance from the attorney general allows municipalities to continue to enforce their own ordinances related to the executive order. 

The City of Burlington has taken several steps in the last week to reduce mass gatherings. Mayor Weinberger issued a second order on Friday, temporarily limiting car access to several public streets in order to give residents more space to walk and bike.

The order restricts some streets to local traffic only and prohibits parking on parts of Pine Street, a main thoroughfare in Burlington’s South End. 

The city hopes the street closures will reduce traffic on the bike path, Director of Public Works Chapin Spencer said. 

“While the popularity of the path is a core asset to our community, it has also presented a challenge on nice days during this necessary period of distancing,” he said Thursday.  

The city has also restricted access to parks by removing basketball hoops, locking tennis courts and dog parks and roping off playgrounds.

Liam Elder-Connors

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