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Killington looking toward the future amid outbreak

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The community of Killington is reacting to a coronavirus outbreak reported this week that stemmed from a private party in August at the Summit Lodge and has so far infected at least 14 people.

“This one incident, I hope it doesn’t create an issue,” said Killington’s Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth. He says he hopes the state’s contact tracing will contain the outbreak so the town can continue to reopen.

“This will just be a blip on the radar as we progress closer towards ski season and we really start to see things getting underway,” said Ryan Orabone, a store owner on the Killington Access Road.

He says business has been looking up lately at his shop, Till I Die. He says a lot of people are trying to get out of the city and come to the Killington area and that it will be difficult to avoid spikes in cases. Still, he says it’s important the community continue safe health practices tp get through it. “This is an opportunity for everybody to come together as opposed to moving further apart and allowing dissension in small towns like this,”

At the top of Killington, the ski resort has seen people taking day trips to bike and golf. They have reopened their Summit Grand Hotel to 50% capacity. The resort’s Courtney DiFiore says it’s a tight-knit community and they can keep businesses open with precautions.

“The fact that COVID-19 can spread so easily and quickly just shows us how vigilant we need to continue to be. Not just here at Killington Resort, but also in the community,” DiFiore said.

“I would hope this is not what we should expect, because obviously we have increased the size of mass gatherings,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine Tuesday.

Moving forward, Hagenbarth says staying safe is crucial for the town’s people and economy. “We don’t want to have another outbreak and have an issue where we start shutting things down. It is critical for both the businesses and the town and everybody that things continue to open at a reasonable and a safe pace,” he said.

In a statement, the Summit Lodge said no members of its staff are exhibiting symptoms of the disease but two people will be tested as a precautionary measure.

Clinics to test for COVID-19 are being held in Rutland over three days Wednesday-through Friday at the Rutland Regional Medical Center in addition to the Vermont Health Department’s pop-up clinic being held Wednesday at the Asa Bloomer state office building.

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