Vermonters encouraged to restrict travel outside state

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Welcome to Vermont road sign on May 25, 2008. (James Bilbre / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont health officials are encouraging Vermonters to limit travel outside the state at a time when new coronavirus cases are increasing around New England.

New COVID-19 cases in the Northeast rose by 3% in the last week, with hospitalizations also on the rise, Vermont Public Radio reported.

Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan told VPR’s Vermont Edition on Tuesday that people should consider carefully any upcoming travel. “And as we move into the holidays this might be a time to hunker down and have some smaller family events, and really think twice about either visitors coming in, or going out-of-state,” she said.

The travel map the state developed that allows people from counties across the Northeast with low viral rates to visit Vermont without quarantining is continuing to shrink. As of Tuesday, the state allowed just under 1.9 million people to visit without quarantine, down about 1 million in the last week.

Vermont reported four new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, for a statewide total to date of 1,889. Three people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus and 642 travelers were being monitored. The total number of deaths has remained at 58 since late July.

Vermont has also released new guidelines to allow for indoor visits at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Facilities in counties with low virus positivity rates will be allowed to return to some indoor visitation, following federal guidelines, WPTZ-TV reported. Guests and facilities must comply with safety guidelines, including mandatory masks, hand sanitization, and social distancing restrictions and visitors will be restricted to two.

“Facilities will be held to high standards and visitors will be held to those same high standards,” said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith during the governor’s biweekly coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

Elderly and often ill patients in long-term care facilities are often at the greatest risk for serious complications from a COVID-19 infection. More than half of the 58 people who have died of COVID.

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