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Vt. officials offer warning on holiday travel planning

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:02 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s ever-shrinking travel map got a little bit smaller Tuesday as state officials further limited the number of people allowed to travel to the state without quarantining. State officials also offered a warning for what that means for the holidays.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Vermont. “There has been stable, increased case growth over the last three weeks,” said DFR Commissioner Michael Pieciak. He says the state recorded 71 cases last week and 200 in the last three weeks. “That is a higher case count than any point from mid-April.”

Pieciak says looking at new confirmed cases, it appears the country is heading towards a third COVID-19 peak. In Vermont specifically, the state’s forecast shows by mid-November the state could be seeing 20-plus new coronavirus cases each day. “This is not unique to Vermont,” Pieciak said.

But even with cases going up, Vermont still has the lowest seven-day positivity rate in the country. Still, Governor Phil Scott said he isn’t considering any new restrictions at this time. “If we see that there’s a problem area that can be rectified by more guidance, more restrictions, we’ll do it. But I don’t see anything widespread,” he said.

In light of the data, Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine had some difficult news for Vermonters about large family gatherings and out-of-state visitors for the holidays. “Just because something is allowed doesn’t mean it may be a good idea for you yourself at the time,” he said.

Levine says that Vermonters need to “reset” on safety measures and have a plan. Plan to quarantine if you’re traveling out of state. Plan to have your college students quarantine when they return. Don’t assume that because they’re your family they didn’t catch the virus. “We know each other well, but we cannot know for certain each other’s possible unintended exposure to the virus,” Levine said.

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