Health Care

Vermont hits two major Covid-19 benchmarks

Emily Fredette at Covid testing site
Emily Fredette, a Vermont Department of Health employee, greets patients at a pop-up Covid-19 testing site in Barre on May 19, 2020. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

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For several days in a row over the weekend, more than 1,000 tests for Covid-19 were given daily in Vermont —  a goal state officials have been aiming for as businesses reopen. 

The state reached another benchmark in containing the outbreak Wednesday as well: For the first time since the start of the pandemic, there were no currently hospitalized individuals who are confirmed to have the coronavirus, according to official statistics.

Both milestones, though important metrics as Vermont takes steps to reopen, are likely to be temporary. 

Vermont’s testing numbers declined again below the 1,000-per-day mark on Tuesday, though the daily totals over the weekend signal that the state has high capacity to handle tests.

And at a press conference Wednesday, officials said the hospital numbers tomorrow will include one more patient who is not noted in today’s data. The person is not in the ICU or on a ventilator, said Commissioner Mark Levine of the Department of Health.

Levine said the total number of people hospitalized is only one element to consider. The state on Wednesday reported 21 people hospitalized under investigation for Covid-19 — those who possibly have the virus but are awaiting test results.


But Levine said the drop in hospitalizations in general was a good sign for Vermont’s health care sector and for reopening.

“This is why we could announce last week about the reopening of the healthcare sector … because clearly hospitals are not being overwhelmed with Covid-positive patients in need of intensive care,” Levine said.

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Gov. Phil Scott also noted the state has had zero deaths in the past 10 days. Since the beginning of the outbreak, 54 people have died of the virus in Vermont and 971 people have tested positive.

He said his team will next review the situation in surrounding states that fuel Vermont’s tourism and hospitality sectors. 

“I’ve asked my team to think about what we need to see in these other states to tell us when it would be smart and safe to open Vermont,” he said.

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Erin Petenko

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