MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott continues to urge Vermonters to do what they can to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The commissioner of the state Department of Health also said there are no new cases to report from an outbreak in Fair Haven and there have not been confirmed reports of long-term impacts from those who got the virus in the state.
At his regular news conference Monday, the governor started off by thanking those in state government who have been working since mid-March on stopping the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. He also thanked residents for their efforts, such as wearing masks in public and social distancing, because Vermont is in much better shape than other states.
According to the Department of Health, there were six new cases of the virus to report Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 1,208. The death toll is 56, which has remained the same for weeks.
“This has not been easy for anyone. And while we’ve come a long way, we know it’s not over and it’ll be a while longer before we’re truly back to normal,” Scott said. “But if we continue with the same spirit and commitment we’ve been going through over the past four months, I know we’ll get through this and be stronger than we were before.”
Some states, such as Texas and Florida, are seeing record numbers of new cases of the virus while Vermont continues to be in good shape.
But there have been a handful of outbreaks of the virus around the state. Earlier this month, the state announced multiple people had tested positive for the virus at a worksite in Fair Haven. On Friday, Dr. Mark Levine, commissioner of the Department of Health, said there were 12 cases from that site with ten of those who tested positive coming New York and the remaining two from Vermont.
Levine said there are no new cases to report from that cluster. He said testing was conducted in Fair Haven over the weekend. More than 200 tests were administered and Levine said they all came back negative.
He said while it’s too soon to say that outbreak has been contained, the indications are the virus isn’t spreading there “by leaps and bounds.”
Because the virus is new, health experts don’t know what its long-term impact will be or if it causes lifelong complications. There have been reports of people suffering shortness of breath or diminished lung capacity weeks after they’ve been deemed “recovered” from the virus.
But the commissioner said there haven’t been any such reports yet in Vermont.
“I think that’s the million dollar question that people here and elsewhere in the world want to know the answer to. The fact is we just don’t have that much knowledge at this point in time,” Levine said.
He said anecdotally he’s heard about cases here where patients didn’t appear to suffer any permanent damage from the virus after tests and scans were conducted, but he again urged it was too soon to know.