AP NEWS

4 test positive for virus at care home whose resident died

March 20, 2020 GMT

MARSHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Four other residents of a nursing home in Burlington have tested positive for the new coronavirus, following the death of a resident from COVID-19, state officials said Friday.

The state reported its first two deaths from the disease Thursday: a woman who lived at Burlington Health & Rehab long-term care facility and an elderly Windsor County man hospitalized at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction.

“We have been vigorously working with the facility regarding their infection control procedures,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

More people are being tested. The Health Department is helping to trace people who had contact with the residents, and the state was planning to discuss with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if a team could be sent to help with the investigation, Levine said.

In Washington state, some 35 coronavirus deaths have been linked to Life Care Center in Kirkland, outside of Seattle.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

The total number of Vermont cases on Friday was 29, with the Health Department saying the state is now experiencing community spread of COVID-19.

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MEDICAL SUPPLIES

Vermont had 500 hospital beds available on Friday, including 49 in intensive care and 204 surgical beds, said Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith. The state had 153 ventilators with 87 more coming, and the state is pursuing even more, he said.

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WORKERS AND BUSINESSES

To respond to increased applications for unemployment insurance, Vermont has tripled its staff at is claims center and created an electronic form to allow people to establish an initial claim, the state Labor Department said. The department said it also added a supplementary phone number.

The state has requested a disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration to make emergency loans available to Vermont small businesses, Gov. Phil Scott said.

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HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE

A provider at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin has tested positive for the coronavirus, the hospital said Friday. The employee had interacted with a small group of patients and staff before getting symptoms and has been in self-isolation since, the medical center said. Contacts have been notified of possible exposure and told to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms, CVMC said

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MARATHON

The People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon & Relay in Burlington has been postponed from the end of May to Oct. 25.

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SOCIAL DISTANCING

Around the country, people are being asked to avoid gatherings and keep their distance from one another when out in public.

“We encourage all Vermonters to use this time of social distancing as an opportunity to reconnect with family, friends, and your community in responsible ways,” Levine said. “Use technology to communicate, enjoy the outdoors, take time to learn ... a new skill, follow up on long overdue projects, volunteer to support those who are in need.”

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.