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21 People Hospitalized In Vermont With COVID-19

A woman gets a swab stuck up her nose by another woman in full protective gear.
Elodie Reed
VPR File
South Burlington resident Lena Ginawi gets tested for COVID-19 at the Winooski Armory on Monday. State officials are encouraging those who have been at recent social gatherings to get tested.

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Scott's latest executive order and more for Friday, Nov. 13.

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The latest coronavirus data:


1. 21 people now hospitalized with COVID-19

Vermont health officials reported 84 new COVID-19 infections Friday.

That's short of yesterday's record of 109 new cases, but still the second-highest number of new infections in Vermont since the pandemic began.

All Vermont counties reported new cases, including 26 in Washington County, 14 in Chittenden County and 10 in Orange County.

A total of 21 people are hospitalized with the disease, including three people in intensive care units.

Middlebury College enacting campus quarantine

Middlebury College is enacting a mandatory, campus-wide quarantine for all students starting Friday at 6 p.m.

The campus quarantine requires students to stay on campus. They can request permission to leave for urgent or essential needs. Students living off-campus are being urged to not travel into town when coming to campus for classes.

The quarantine will stay in effect for the final week of the semester as students prepare to depart by Nov. 21. All students can get tested early next week as part of the college's pre-departure protocols.

School officials say there are no known COVID-19 cases on campus and the move is due to surging cases in Vermont and across the country.

Interstate hockey programs suspended

States across the northeast are suspending all interstate school and youth hockey programs to mitigate the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.

Governors of all six New England states, as well as New Jersey, agreed to suspend interstate play for public and private schools, as well as youth leagues.

The suspension starts this Saturday and runs through year's end, but it could be extended.

About 125 COVID-19 infections in Vermont have been linked to a Montpelier hockey and broomball league.

- Matthew Smith

2. Gov. issues executive order banning multi-household gatherings

Gov. Phil Scott says a surge in coronavirus cases means Vermonters can no longer socialize with friends and family they don’t live with.

Scott issued an executive order on Friday that goes into effect at 10 p.m. Saturday and prohibits all social gatherings involving people from different households, either inside or outside.

Commissioner of Health Mark Levine says the order is based on recent data.

“Since Oct. 1, 71% of the cases that are associated with an outbreak are associated with an outbreak from a private party or a social gathering,” he said.

The Department of Health is now investigating 17 coronavirus outbreaks across the state, including one at a Rutland nursing home that infected 19 residents there.

Scott has also ordered the closure of all in-person service at bars and clubs in Vermont.

Officials say the new measures are intended to try to keep kids in school, and Secretary of Education Dan French says there isn’t a plan to require remote learning after Thanksgiving.

“We’ll certainly monitor the trends and the data, but we don’t think a pre-emptive decision like that is in the best interest of the students right now.”

Read the full story.

- Peter Hirschfeld and Liam Elder-Connors

3. South Burlington motel to serve as quarantine location for those experiencing homelessness

The Champlain Housing Trust is using $1.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to buy the Ho Hum Motel to serve as an isolation and quarantine location for people experiencing homelessness.

The money is being provided by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, which is distributing some of the federal relief funds that Vermont received. The South Burlington motel can accommodate up to 34 people after renovations are complete.

Chief Operating Officer Michael Monte said in a written statement that for people experiencing homelessness “isolating or quarantining is simply impossible without a property like this one – especially as we get into the colder months.”

The state Agency of Human Services will cover operating costs and meals at the motel.

- Liam Elder-Connors

More from VPR: 'Bringing Urgency To Homelessness': Grants Help Landlords Rehab, Rent Housing

4. UVMMC continuing to see impacts from cyber attack, two weeks later

Two weeks ago a cyber attack hit Vermont’s largest hospital, taking down many systems and radiating out to several affiliated health care facilities.

The hack left the University of Vermont Medical Center without access to patients' electronic medical records and limited access to appointment schedules. While UVMMC was most affected by the attack, affiliates like Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, have also experienced disruptions.

Maggie Gardner, a nurse midwife at Porter, says the most difficult issue has been the limited access to appointment schedules. Gardner says the UVM Medical Center has one computer back online and it faxes Porter its schedules. 

“We have our schedules for a few days, but not much further out than that,” Gardner said. “I can imagine that would be frustrating for patients – I know it’s frustrating for us.”

UVMMC says it's making progress on restoring its systems, but it’s not sure how long it will take to bring everything back online.

Read/hear the full story.

- Liam Elder-Connors

5. Peter Welch: Trump's refusal to concede puts democracy at risk

Congressman Peter Welch says President Trump's refusal to concede the presidential election puts our democracy at risk.

Trump has claimed numerous cases of voter fraud in his loss to Democratic candidate Joe Biden, but no cases have been substantiated.

Welch says a peaceful and orderly transfer of power after a presidential election is critical to the future of the country, and he says Trump's actions threaten to undermine public confidence in the government.

"It's very destructive in the long term to that cohesive commitment that we have as Americans that whether our candidates wins or loses, we accept the outcome of the election and we fight another day,” Welch said. “And that's profoundly important to the integrity of democracy."    

Welch says he has no doubt Joe Biden will be sworn into office as the country's next president in January.

Listen to the full Vermont Edition conversation.

- Bob Kinzel

6. Milk prices increase slightly

Dairy farmers can expect a slight increase in their October milk checks.

The County Courier reports the price in St. Albans came in at $16.22 per hundredweight, up from about $15.95 cents in September.

Though many farmers are still producing milk at or close to a loss, the 1.6% bump could impact many farmers' bottom line.

The Northeast Market relies on the Boston Market to set the overall price. Nationally, the USDA's uniform statistical milk price increased 27 cents in October, to $17.07 per hundredweight.

- Matthew Smith

7. One of the "Pinnacle dogs" has died

One of the two golden retrievers known as a pair of Stowe's "Pinnacle dogs" has died.

The Burlington Free Press reports owner Perry Schafer confirmed in a Facebook post this week that 12-year-old Baylor had died.

Baylor and companion canine Sampson gained notoriety for their free-range excursions up the Stowe Pinnacle Trail near their family's home. The dogs had become fixtures at the summit and on social media.

- Matthew Smith

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