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Health Officials Report 35 New Cases Of COVID-19

Woman wearing a black vest and red mask looks at the camera
Elodie Reed
Williamstown Justice of the Peace Heather Powell sits for a portrait on Tuesday while working at the polls.

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus, the 2020 General Election and more for Thursday, Nov. 5.

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The latest coronavirus data:


1. Vermont sees 35 new cases of COVID-19

State health officials reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of people to have tested positive in the state to 2,303. Currently there are five people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the disease in Vermont. Four people are being treated in intensive care units.

The state is currently monitoring 158 people as close contacts of confirmed cases.

Chittenden County has seen 140 new cases of the disease in the last two weeks. Nineteen new cases were identified there today.

Addison and Washington counties each saw three new cases today, and Orleans County saw four new cases. Essex County saw two new cases, and Franklin, Grand Isle, Rutland and Caledonia counties each saw one new case.

- Abagael Giles

Six more UVM students test positive

Six more students at the University of Vermont have tested positive for the coronavirus.

WCAX reports vice provost for student affairs Annie Stevens announced in an email Wednesday that the cases were among both undergraduate and graduate students living on and off campus.

The six students are currently in isolation. UVM officials say the new cases are unrelated to the single case reported Tuesday, which led to 30 exposed students to be quarantined.

The health department reported 27 new COVID-19 cases statewide Wednesday.

- Matthew Smith  

2. Chittenden County elects first woman of color to serve in Vermont's Senate

Residents in Vermont’s largest county on Tuesday made an historic pick for the state Senate and elected the first woman of color to that legislative body.

Kesha Ram was one of six Democrats elected to represent Chittenden County in the Senate.

Ram, a former member of the House, said her win is a step toward creating a Legislature that reflects a broader range of Vermonters.

“There has never been a woman of color, with life experiences like mine, sitting in those seats of power,” Ram said. “They’ve been on edges of the committee rooms, in the hallways, trying to explain the challenges they face in Vermont that aren’t the lived experience of those who have been in power.”

Ram said the Senate needs to understand the needs of marginalized communities in order to tackle racial inequity. 

- Liam Elder-Connors

Correction 4:00 p.m. An earlier version of this story contained a transcription error in Ram's quote. It has been corrected.


3. Vt. Secretary of State reports election went smoothly

Vermont's Secretary of State says the unprecedented use of mail-in ballots in the general election this year went fairly smoothly.

For the first time, the state sent every active, registered voter a ballot in the mail, due to the pandemic.

Secretary of State Jim Condos says his office will present the legislature with the pros and cons of making the system permanent -- including cost.

"A lot of people think that voting by mail is cheaper than having in-person voting, but it really isn't because you're pre-paying the postage," Condos said.

Condos said the Legislature will ultimately decide whether to continue universal vote-by-mail in future elections.

Read or listen to the full story here.

- Henry Epp

4. Professor of government dismisses viability of Trump lawsuits

Before it’s even over, the 2020 presidential election has already resulted in legal challenges in a number of states, disputing the final unofficial tallies.

So far, all the suits have been bought by the Trump campaign.

Linda Fowler, a professor of government emerita at Dartmouth College, said individual states have the authority to develop their own set of election laws, and most courts are very reluctant to overturn those rules.

“I think there are a lot of claims,” Fowler said. “I think that the multiplicity of them just muddies the waters and creates suspicion in the minds of the public, but so far, I haven't seen anything that looks like the courts would take it seriously."

Fowler said she doubts that the U.S. Supreme Court wants to take on any cases that attempt to overturn state election laws.

Listen to the full conversation on Vermont Edition.

- Bob Kinzel

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