MONTPELIER — While Vermont continues to be in good shape in combating coronavirus, the state has tightened its traveling restrictions as consequence of increased cases in the region.
At Gov. Phil Scott’s regular news conference Tuesday, Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, spoke about the increase in cases in the Northeast. Pieciak has been analyzing the data that has informed the governor’s decisions to ease restrictions put in place in March because of COVID-19.
He said while cases aren’t increasing as quickly as they were at other points during the pandemic, they are going up. Pieciak said the region saw about 8,000 more cases of the virus this past week than the week prior. The commissioner said Quebec, Massachusetts and New York City account for much of the increase in cases.
Vermont, conversely, continues to do well in combating the virus. The commissioner said the state had 132 new cases of the virus last month after conducting more than 97,000 tests over that time. He said the state has a test positivity rate of 0.17%.
“Fortunately, we didn’t have a single fatality from COVID in the month of September,” Pieciak said. “We didn’t even have anybody in the ICU during the month of September, which is pretty remarkable as well.”
The commissioner said Vermont still has the lowest 7-day infection rate in the country. That low rate includes a recent outbreak of the virus at an apple orchard in Shoreham where state officials say 27 migrant orchard workers tested positive for the virus. Officials are now working to figure out how the workers got the virus since they had observed a two-week quarantine prior to working in the state.
For months the state has published a travel map that shows who has to quarantine when they come to Vermont depending on which out-of-state county they are coming from.
“As you saw with the regional data, with cases going up, the number of individuals allowed to come in without a quarantine has gone down to 2.9 million. That is the lowest number since we released the travel map,” he said.
The commissioner said some areas, such as a couple New York counties that border Vermont, are improving, while others, such as a couple counties in western Massachusetts, are getting worse.
The map can be found at the department’s website.