Vermont has 5 new cases of COVID-19; number of negative tests nears 500

Coronavirus

UVM Medical Center opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing operation Monday, one of numerous steps taken in Vermont to get a handle on the spread of coronavirus.

Five new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Vermont Department of Health, bringing the number of Vermonters and out-of-state visitors who have tested positive for the disease to 17, according to the figures released by the state.

The number of Vermonters who have tested positive has more than tripled since the weekend. Three cases were reported by state officials. On Monday, four cases were reported Monday by Health Commissioner Mark Levine at a Montpelier news conference.

Levine also told reporters that the virus is now being spread by person-to-person contact rather than just through known sources, such as foreign travel or contact with a sick individual.

WATCH: Full video of Monday’s update on coronavirus in Vermont

The health department did not immediately offer additional information about the five laest cases. The four reported Monday include a woman in her 60s from Bennington who is being treated at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. Officials there say the first Vermont patient with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is in stable condition at the hospital and continues to improve.

Under an emergency order issued Sunday, Gov. Phil Scott ordered all K-12 schools in the state to closed by the end of the day Tuesday until at least April 6. Scott’s order also prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people or 50% of a location’s capacity.

Weinberger declares state of emergency; Burlington bars, restaurants to close Tuesday

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger declared a state of emergency in the city Monday, ordering all bars and restaurants to stop serving customers on the premises. Weinberger also said the city is suspending disconnections of municipal utility services until further notice, and will work to put together a relief package for workers and others impacted by the state and city’s response to the virus.

Access to city buildings and many city services will be curtailed or suspended starting Wednesday.

This story was updated with new numbers for out-state-state visitors whose tests came back positive from the Vermont Health Laboratory.

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