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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 Monday, May 4

A film screening, set up on the side of a farmhouse in Strafford
Sarah Priestap
When her final semester of her senior year was moved online, and the chance to publicly showcase her senior film thesis was cut short, Quinn Thomashow chose to project her experimental film project on her family's home in Strafford, Vermont on April 24.

Vermont reporters provide a round-up of ongoing local coverage of coronavirus for Monday, May 4.


Vermont has now seen 902 cases of COVID-19

The health department reported five new cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 902 cases in Vermont. No additional deaths were reported. So far, 52 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. 

Currently, eight people in Vermont are hospitalized with the disease.

Karen Anderson

Another Franklin County inmate tests positive for COVID-19

One more prison staffer has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Franklin County. This comes after a second round of comprehensive testing at that facility. Last week, the department announced seven new positive test results among inmates there. 

In a staement, Commissioner Jim Baker said the test results suggest the prison's response to the pandemic is showing success.

A total of 18 staff members and 45 inmates have now tested positive at that facility. Many of the inmates were transferred to a medical isolation unit in St. Johnsbury in early April. Some have since recovered and returned. 

Emily Corwin

Vermont has seen an uptick in domestic violence calls

Vermont law enforcement officials say there's been an uptick in domestic violence calls in recent weeks. 

Across the country, advocates have warned that the social isolation measures required due to the COVID-19 pandemic could increase rates of domestic violence. 

Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Schirling said shelters and advocacy groups are still operating.

"The network of agencies are providing a variety of additional supports to survivors and victims under the circumstances, ranging from diapers and food, to face masks and things that are personally protective as well," Schirling said.

He said the state is working with advocacy groups to get more grant funding for domestic violence prevention programs.

Resources recommended by law enforcement and advocates include:

  • Vermont NetworkAgainst Domestic Violence
  • Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395. 
  • Vermont Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233.
  • If you’re unable to speak safely: Log onto, or text LOVEIS to 22522.
  • If you are in an emergency situation: Call 911.

- Liam Elder-Connors

Gov. Scott says he expects to ease some social restrictions this week

Gov. Phil Scott said he expects to announce the easing of some social restrictions this week, ahead of the expiration of the statewide Stay Home, Stay Safe order

The order, which is set to expire on May 15, has been in effect since March 25. It requires people to primarily stay home and ordered most businesses to stop in-person operations. 

In a press conference Monday, Scott didn't offer specific details on the upcoming changes.

"I also want to remind everyone that I expect we'll be making a few other announcements this week that go beyond businesses opening, to address some of our social needs as well," Scott said. 

Scott has partially re-opened manufacturing, landscaping and construction business in the state and on Monday, he announced some elective medical procedures could resume. 

The announcements come as Vermont's growth rate of COVID-19 cases has slowed. 

Read the full story, here.

Liam Elder-Connors

The Shelburne Museum will remain closed this summer, a first in 73 years

The Shelburne Museum won't be opening for its summer season this year. This is the first time in the museum's 73-year history that the season has been called off. 

Museum Director Thomas Denenberg said, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all exhibit buildings, the grounds and the museum store will remain closed. A reopening date has not been scheduled. 

Meanwhile, the museum's first online exhibition opened last month. Patrons can also connect with the Shelburne Museum through social media. 

Amy Kolb Noyes

Have questions, comments, concerns or experiences you would like to share with VPR about the coronavirus? Let us know, here.

Public transportation providers to receive $21 million in CARES Act funds

Public transportation providers in Vermont are getting $21 million in federal COVID-19 funds. 

The CARES Act funding will help pay for public transportation services, as well as cleaning supplies, masks for staff and other public safety supplies. 

VTrans expects the grant money will cover those costs for more than a year. 

Amy Kolb Noyes

Gov. Scott allows some elective health care procedures to resume

Gov. Phil Scott today announced that some elective health care procedures will resume, as Vermont continues to reopen parts of the economy closed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Non-essential health care procedures were postponed in March to free up capacity for a potential surge of COVID-19 cases. 

The state will allow health care providers to perform outpatient surgeries and diagnostic tests, as long as they screen patients and staff for coronavirus and have other safety procedures in place.

Scott said that only procedures that have minimal impact on the health care system will be allowed.

"Elective surgeries that require a hospital stay are not part of this phase, but if things continue to improve with respect to PPE inventory and if our positive trends continue, then we'll look to open up a bit further," Scott said.

The governor's decision comes as the state's modeling continues to show that the spread of COVID-19 has slowed. Hospitals suffered huge revenue losses when elective procedures were banned. 

But Health Commissioner Mark Levine said elective procedures may be postponed again if there are outbreaks of COVID-19 in Vermont. 

"[That's if] health care professionals can no longer safely care for Vermonters in a way that limits the exposure of patients and staff and that preserves PPE, ventilators and inpatient hospital capacity to meet the needs of an outbreak," Levine said. 

Read the full story, here.

Karen Anderson and Liam Elder-Connors

Former UVM hockey coach has died from complications due to COVID-19

Former University of Vermont Hockey Coach Jim Cross has died due to complications from COVID-19. 

According to The Burlington Free Press, Cross, who turned the University of Vermont men's hockey team into a Division II power and oversaw the program's rise to Division I, passed away Saturday after complications from the coronavirus. 

Cross led the Catamounts to three ECAC Division II Championships in 19 seasons between 1965 and 1984. 

Karen Anderson

COVID-19 leads to layoffs for paraprofessionals in Windham County

The school superintendent for Windham Northeast Supervisory Union said he has terminated 39 out of 84 paraprofessionals for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the staff cuts are in response to the financial shortfalls the state is expecting from the coronavirus outbreak and the high ration of paraprofessionals to students.

The supervisory union is made up of schools in Bellows Falls, Grafton, Saxtons River and Westminster. 

Amy Kolb Noyes

More from VPR: 'Words Can't Do Justice To The Challenge': Vt. School Funding In a COVID-19 Economy

Social distancing, temperature checks required for workers back on the job

Starting Monday, some businesses were able to get more employees back to work as part of Gov. Phil Scott's plan to gradually reopen Vermont's economy. 

Businesses that resume operations need to follow new rules intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those new regulations include employee temperature checks and maintaining six feet between workers. Employees must also complete a health and safety training course.

More from VPR: Scott Reopens Manufacturing, Construction Industries After Dip In New COVID-19 Cases

Vermont has seen a steady decline in reported COVID-19 infections and modeling from the Scott administration indicates the state has one of the slowest rates of case growth in the country.

Scott said as long as that trend continues, construction and manufacturing businesses will be allowed to fully open on May 11. 

Scott has also hinted that this week he'll ease some aspects of his Stay Home, Stay Safe order to allow more "family connections and outdoor recreation."

Liam Elder-Connors

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