COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 100,000 people around the world, is now believed to have reached Vermont.
The Vermont Department of Health said late Saturday that an adult from Bennington County is under quarantine at Southwest Vermont Medical Center. No word on the patient’s age or gender or how they may have come in contact with the virus.
In a statement Saturday, state Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said officials had hoped the virus would miss Vermont, but “have been preparing for this eventuality.
“This new coronavirus can be serious and even deadly, but the state is mobilized to protect the health of Vermonters and we are prepared for the likelihood of more cases.”
At a press conference Sunday, Gov. Phil Scottt said the health department is awaiting final confirmation of from the Centers for Disease Control.
State health officials are currently monitoring 224 people for the virus.
“We want to make sure that anyone who might have even been casually exposed in the hospital setting, we’re aware of them, they’re aware of their potential risk and the appropriate protections can be in place,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
Scott said health officials will work to both prevent and contain the spread of the disease, but that more cases can be expected.
“I think we have to be realistic and understand we’ve seen the first, and this may be the tip of the iceberg in some respects,” he said. “We hope to continue to contain, prevent as much as we can.”