Vt. COVID case growth low; Scott calls Burlington bar capacity allegations 'problematic'

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) There were ten new Vermont COVID-19 cases over the weekend, although none of them were related to the current outbreaks in Winooski, Fair Haven, or Windham County.

The Winooski cluster now stands at 115 cases and is largely under control. The Windham County cluster involves is stable and remains at six family members. And in Fair Haven, the workplace-based outbreak remains at 12. That cluster includes two Vermonters and 10 New Yorkers -- all associated with the Fair Haven business.

The state held a pop-up testing event there this weekend to see if there is community spread. All 200 tests came back negative.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says the Washington County, New York, health department is not doing extra testing but it is doing contact tracing to isolate the outbreak. He says it's too early to call the Fair Haven cluster contained but he's encouraged that it is not growing.

Governor Phil Scott responded to allegations that some Burlington bars had been exceeding their capacity, calling the reports concerning. "This is problematic, and we're very concerned about this. And we'll take whatever action that we have to to make sure that we don't encourage the spread of the virus," Scott said.

Levine cited the current surge of cases in states like Texas and Florida as an example of why public health guidelines like facial coverings and social distancing should be followed. He said Vermont's restarting plan hinges on physical distancing and on patrons managing their exposure risk.

"We're not asking people to stop having fun in life and to stop enjoying the things they enjoy to do, but again, you have to have that sense of conscientiousness about how you go about your life now," Levine said.

Governor Scott said nothing in Vermont's data is giving them a reason to crack down here, saying they are not rethinking their guidance for bars and restaurants at this time.

As of Monday, Vermont health officials reported 1,208 coronavirus cases in the state and 56 deaths. A total of 64,993 tests have been conducted, 1,571 people are being monitored, 1,526 have completed monitoring and 949 have recovered.