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Data looks promising but state leaders say no victory yet

(WCAX)
Published: May. 1, 2020 at 5:32 PM EDT
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Friday's decisions to reopen Vermont's economy more are based on the latest data released by the state. Our Cat Viglienzoni explains what it shows.

Friday there was more good news from the state's coronavirus data modeling.

"We are continuing to see a very low active case count," said Michael Pieciak, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.

Pieciak outlined their latest information. Vermont's confirmed COVID-19 cases now won't double for 12 weeks, one of the best in the country. Hospital demands here continue to go down. So far, small steps to reopen Vermont's economy haven't caused a spike in cases. And importantly, Vermont has now passed its peak of active cases.

But state officials are quick to urge people not to take this good news as a reason let up on their efforts to stay home and stay safe to keep the case numbers low.

"Our individual actions will continue to determine our collective outcome. This is why we need to continue to remain vigilant and follow social distancing and hygiene guidance," Pieciak said.

"I want to make sure that everyone understands we can't declare victory yet," said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont. "It only takes one spark to reignite this fire."

The governor said they will not be putting out a longterm timeline for when they will reopen other sectors of the economy or tie that to specific percentages of cases. That's because he said they also need to factor in what's happening in neighboring states, because their data shows while Vermont is ahead in controlling the virus, bordering states are still struggling to contain it.

"Some of what we do is going to be based on what we're seeing throughout the region," Scott said.

And the governor says while they are trying to get Vermont back to some sort of normal as soon as possible, his team is being careful not to over-promise.

"I don't want to set false expectations," he said. "I don't want to put something out there and then not be able to follow through."

And again, state officials reminded Vermonters that one person is capable of infecting many others-- often before they realize they are ill-- making it possible for case numbers to rise again quickly if people aren't careful. This is why they reiterated that wearing masks and keeping six feet away from others are both still very important.

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