Scott: Stay-at-home order to Vermonters could come in next few days

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Gov. Phil Scott said Vermonters should prepare for more measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, including an order that residents remain in their homes with few exceptions.

“It’s not a question of if, its going to be a question of when,” Scott said, “and I will expect it will be in the next couple of days.”

The Vermont Department of Health says 75 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Vermont, including 15 new cases at Burlington Health and Rehab, where four deaths have been reported in less than a week. Mayor Miro Weinberger says he wants to begin moving residents and patients who have tested negative out of the facility.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said “a select group of patients” may begin to leave the facility soon. “Ones that were not there for the long term, so to speak,” he said.

By Wednesday, residents of 16 states will be under orders to stay at home. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered workers in nonessential businesses to stay home and said businesses that do not comply could be fined.

Levine said Vermonters should expect to see an increase in positive cases now that commercial labs have started to conduct more tests. Levine said the rise in positive tests in the last week indicate “more sustained community transmission of COVID-19.”

At a news conference Monday, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch said Congress continues to work on legislation that will provide assistance to that this pandemic is causing us to sacrifice our economy for the benefit of our health.

“The main responsibility that the federal government has is to provide the funding so that our families are secure, our hospitals are secure, and our businesses are around to fight another day” said Welch.

Congressman Welch also said that they are considering new legislation that will focus on providing additional resources for states to help individuals, small businesses and hospitals.

“We can’t impose this on the states, on the communities, on the small businesses, on the hospitals, on the individuals who are all rallying to meet our public health crisis,” he said.

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