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Vt. health officials say COVID not widespread in Manchester area

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 2:47 AM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Department of Health tells WCAX News that at this time, it does not believe COVID-19 is spreading in the Manchester area, but there are still questions about test results.

More than 60 people in southern Vermont recently tested positive for the virus through rapid antigen testing. So, the state stepped in with its own tests.

The health department says 64 people had positive antigen tests for COVID-19 at the Manchester Medical Center since July 10. Of those people, only one person is an unknown.

Now, after PCR testing, two are confirmed cases. Four are probable cases; meaning their PCR test came back negative, but they meet other criteria such as being linked to another confirmed positive case or having symptoms of the virus. And 57 of the cases were negative.

The question of an outbreak drove more than 1,000 other community members to get tested at one of two COVID-19 pop-up test sites in the area. Some 1,423 samples have been collected in the past week. Of those new tests, only one person came back positive.

But community members we spoke with are losing faith in the results.

"The testing is just confusing in general. I don't really know what to believe if they are all false positives or false negatives, so it's really hard to know what to trust and what to believe," said Jessica Grahber of Manchester.

Other people we spoke with in town seem to think information being released is confusing.

The pop-up test sit in Manchester was still being held at Riley Rink on Monday, but when we were there Monday afternoon, a man controlling traffic said only about a dozen cars had come through.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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