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Advocates urge Governor Scott to declare state of emergency, reinstitute mask mandate

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:39 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:28 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont lawmakers and nurses are pleading with the governor to enact another state of emergency and require masks indoors.

This comes as COVID cases surge in the state, with 345 cases reported in a single day two weekends ago.

Governor Phil Scott says vaccinations are working and mandating masks wouldn’t help reduce the spread of COVID. He’s been under increasing pressure from the Legislature to re-issue the state of emergency and mandate facial coverings.

He recently said Vermonters need to take personal responsibility to help control viral spread. That has some health care workers upset. Rep. Mari Cordes, D-Lincoln, a registered nurse at the UVM Medical Center in the Cardiology Department says, “telling all of us to have personal responsibility was cruel and way out of line. This is an emergency.”

“We are overwhelmed, exhausted and many are at their breaking point, either leaving their jobs or consider leaving. We can not afford to lose school nurses right now, but we are,” said Becca McCray, president of the Vermont State School Nurses Association.

The speakers at Monday’s Statehouse press conference say the state’s health care and educational systems are on the verge of total collapse.

The governor’s press secretary says Vermont continues to be a national leader in its vaccination efforts and consistently has had one of the lowest fatality, hospitalization, and test positivity rates in the country.

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