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Birx visits UVM, praises COVID response

Published: Oct. 10, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A member of the White House coronavirus task force visited the University of Vermont on Saturday.

While speaking at a press conference, Dr. Deborah Birx praised UVM’s COVID preparation.

“In addition to the testing, they were prepared for isolating students who became infected. They were prepared to quarantining students who became exposed,” Birx said.

According to UVM President Garimella, out of 72,000 tests since August, 25 students have tested positive. Dr. Birx says planning and mandating weekly testing are key to UVM’s low number of cases. She says frequent testing is critical with college-aged adults.

“Most of the people in this age group do not have symptoms but are highly-infectious to others,” she said. “So this weekly testing is not only providing assurance that there’s not spread on this campus, there’s not spread to the faculty, other students and not spread to the community.”

To keep UVM’s track record going, Dr. Birx says students will need to be extra cautious this holiday season. She says the virus spreads primarily in small gatherings of friends and family so keeping distance from loved ones is vital."Universities can also help us do YouTube videos on how to have a safe Thanksgiving. What does it mean? Are the grandparents in a separate room? Do we always mask when we interact with our grandparents? Probably yes," she said. Dr. Birx says “physical distance but social engagement” is critical as students continue adjusting to this year’s campus changes.

UVM was Dr. Birx’s 26th campus stop this week.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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