State health labs get more supplies to test for COVID-19

MONTELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Health officials around the region say state laboratories are gearing up to do more coronavirus testing after receiving additional supplies from the CDC, and in Vermont those tests will be free of cost if deemed medically necessary.

Vermont officials on Thursday said they will be able to double testing capacity by next week. In New Hampshire, officials said the supplies will allow the laboratories to test an additional 200 people.

Governor Phil Scott announced Friday that the state will ensure that anyone who meets the medical requirements for testing can do so at no cost. To make sure tests that are determined to be medically necessary are free, the Department of Financial Regulation issued Insurance Bulletin #209, requiring Vermont health insurers to waive any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing including testing during emergency room, urgent care, and office visits.

The Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Friday also issued new guidance for long term care facilities. At Governor Scott's direction, the department wants nursing homes and residential care homes to implement a screening process to ensure visitors aren't at risk of having or spreading coronavirus to those residents.

As of Friday only two Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center employees have tested positive for the virus. There have been no cases reported in Vermont