Vermont now has two cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. A Chittenden County man in his 70s tested positive for the disease and is currently hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, the health department said Wednesday night.
The state is awaiting confirmation of the results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The man was hospitalized this week, and state health officials are investigating his exposure history and working to identify anyone who may have had close contact with him.
The health department did not release any details about the patient’s condition, but in a statement, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said they were “hopeful for this man’s recovery.”
UVM Medical Center COO Stephen Leffler said in a statement that the hospital has been preparing to treat COVID-19 for “several weeks.”
“Our teams are well-trained and ready to offer high-quality care to anyone infected with the virus,” Leffler said. “We have the necessary resources to ensure our patients receive the care they need.”
The first case of COVID-19 in Vermont, announced late Saturday night, was in Bennington County. The patient there, an older man, is being hospitalized at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. The hospital told Vermont Edition earlier this week the patient was in serious, but stable condition.
Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, cough and in severe cases, shortness of breath. A majority of people who have contracted COVID-19 have experienced mild or moderate illness not requiring hospitalization, according to the state health department.
Public health officials have advised people to wash their hands frequently, stay home when sick and avoid contact with sick people.
In the days since Vermont’s first case was announced, Gov. Phil Scott activated the emergency operations center to coordinate the state’s response to the disease.
Numerous events, like Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day, have been postponed or cancelled, and colleges, like the University of Vermont, Middlebury College and Champlain College, have decided to hold all courses remotely and keep students off campus.
There are cases in all of the states bordering Vermont, including Quebec. On Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases there continued to grow.
Correction 4:26 p.m. 3/12/2020: This post has been updated to use Dr. Stephen Leffler's correct title at UVM Medical Center.