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State tracking apparent COVID-19 outbreak in southern Vermont

The Manchester Medical Center in Vermont where at least 30 people came up positive for COVID-19 in antigen tests.
The Manchester Medical Center in Vermont where at least 30 people came up positive for COVID-19 in antigen tests.(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - There is a new coronavirus outbreak in the Manchester-Londonderry area. At least 30 presumptive positive tests were confirmed during Gov. Phil Scott’s coronavirus press conference Tuesday. Our Olivia Lyons has reaction from town officials and the community.

The Vermont Department of Health is looking into 30 positive antigen cases at the Manchester Medical Center.

Kevin Beattie, the Londonderry emergency management director, tells me this means people in town need to take more precautions to prevent more spread.

“We do know that there have been a total number of cases that there have been tested at the Manchester Medical Center and we do know that there was a substantial number tested from Londonderry, but we don’t know much else other than that right now,” Beattie said.

More than 30 of those people tested at the Manchester Medical Center were found positive for COVID through an antigen test. That's a rapid result test not recognized by the state health department. They are awaiting diagnostic test results before quantifying the size of the outbreak in the region.

Tuesday afternoon, there was a constant flow of people going to get tested.

The Bowen family of East Dorset had a scheduled testing appointment after Louis' spent time with his friend from South Londonderry who is now positive for the coronavirus.

"We thought maybe we'll let the boys see each other and I highly recommend people don't think like that. I regret it," Jennifer Bowen said.

One person I spoke with in town says she saw the parking lot at the market in Londonderry filled with cars from out of state over the Fourth of July weekend.

"I'm not happy about it because I, personally, think things were opened up too early," said Debbie Smith of South Londonderry.

At this time, the exact source or place people contracted the virus from is unknown. But Beattie tells me the town knows there are 18 people positive in Londonderry.

"We did see a lot of people come in, especially around the Fourth of July. We saw a lot of people letting their guard down and not taking precautions as I feel they should be, so I think we are starting to see some results of that," he said.

The state will have a pop-up testing clinic in Londonderry on Wednesday. Beattie says the testing slots filled up about four hours after the signup went public. And people who did not get to sign up have expressed wanting to be tested. Beattie is unsure yet if the area will hold a second clinic.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center will open its pop-up testing site at the their Northshire Campus in Manchester. Drive-up testing will be done from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and will remain open as needed.

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