Gov. Scott makes final pitch for Vermonters to stay home for Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 4:19 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s daily coronavirus count on Tuesday dropped to the lowest it’s been for 10-days, but the governor and health officials remain worried that Thanksgiving and the holiday season could send those numbers climbing once again.

Workers in Montpelier Tuesday were busy setting up the Christmas tree in front of the Statehouse in a holiday season like no other. Washington County is now one of the top 10 counties in all of New England with the highest coronavirus cases per million. And with Thanksgiving just days away and many Americans already hitting the road to see friends and family, Governor Phil Scott implored Vermonters to rethink travel plans. “I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get there.”

“I know what we are telling Vermonters to do right now -- to give up spending time with friends and family members is difficult. And I also know how done we are with this pandemic,” added Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

According to state modeling, COVID cases are rapidly growing in the U.S. with 12-million cases now -- a million in just six days.

For months, we’ve been hearing about more and more travel restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. And it appears at least some are getting the message. At The Burlington International Airport, executive director Gene Richards says air travel for the Thanksgiving holiday is down from last year. “Number-wise, we have about 3,000 people that are flying in and out this week. Last year, we had about 11,000,” he said.

But state leaders acknowledge many Vermonters still will travel and gather with people from other households. Those who do are expected to quarantine. And the governor is directing schools to begin asking students in the daily health check if they’ve been part of multi-family gatherings. “If the answer is yes, they’ll need to transition to remote learning for 14-days or seven days and a test,” Scott said. He says holding on for a few more weeks and laying low during the holidays will protect all Vermonters. “You never know whether you’ll be the domino that leads to a nursing home outbreak or the one that puts our entire health care system at risk.”

Two more Vermonters have died from COVID-19 and Governor Phil Scott began his Tuesday briefing by putting a name to one of those victims. The governor says Mary Pat Brown was a mother of six children from Bristol. Her family reached out to the governor, asking him to attach her name to the number and hopefully inspire others to follow health guidelines and save lives. They told the governor this would give their family comfort.

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