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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Vermont Coronavirus Updates For Sunday, March 29

The entry to Landmark College with a sign about COVID-19 testing.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Landmark College in Putney is the location of a new COVID-19 testing site.

Vermont reporters provide a quick round-up of ongoing local coverage of coronavirus for Sunday, March 29.


Modest rise in positive test results

The number of reported positive cases of COVID-19 rose by 24 today, the smallest daily increase the Department of Health has announced in nearly a week. It brings the state's total positive test results to 235.

The state did not announce any new deaths. Two deaths yesterday brought the state's total to 12.

Health commissioner Mark Levine said Friday the state will greatly expand the number of people it tests for the coronavirus in the coming days. 

- Emily Corwin

New test site opens at Landmark College in Putney

Today, the Health Department will begin testing patients for Covid-19 at Landmark College in Putney.

The department is running the site alongside the medical division of the National Guard. 

Health Commissioner Mark Levine announced Friday that the state had obtained additional testing supplies and would broaden its testing efforts. He said the state can now offer testing to people with mild to moderate symptoms.

Patients may not use the testing site without a doctor’s referral.

-Howard Weiss-Tisman

Woodside to house psychiatric patients with mild symptoms

The state's sole juvenile detention facility will be converted to house psychiatric patients with mild cases of COVID-19.

The four youth that were housed at Woodside are now being held in St. Albans, according to VTDigger.

Woodside had been slated for closure by the Scott administration after a steady decline in its population.

Department of Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell told legislators this week that the re-purposed facility will have 10 to 25 beds.

"We needed a facility that was secure enough to meet the safety needs of those individuals, and so we moved quickly to identify Woodside," Squirrell said. "This is intended to be temporary, very short-term, to meet this emergency need."

Squirrell said the facility was just over a week away from being ready to hold patients.

- Liam Elder-Connors

State police check hotels and motels for 'stay home' compliance

State law enforcement officers visited motels and hotels over the weekend to see if they're complying with the Governor's executive order to "stay home."

The order mandates that lodging establishments close, except to house individuals including healthcare personnel, and people facing homelessness or needing quarantine as arranged by the state.

Vermont State Police spokesperson Adam Silverman said he expects the Governor's office will release compliance updates on Monday.

-Emily Corwin

Virus may mean more bad news for dairy farmers

Vermont's dairy farmers may soon feel the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dairy economists say the crisis could affect milk prices in several ways. Restaurants and schools around the country are closing, so there will be less need for fluid milk.

On top of that, a slump in demand from overseas could cause prices to drop by as much as 25 percent.

The expected downturn comes just as prices were starting to improve after four years of decline.

The Agriculture Committee in the Vermont Senate will hold a hearing milk prices later this week. Committee chairman, Bobby Starr D-Essex-Orleans, said he wants to talk to state and federal officials about expanding a federal dairy insurance program.

-John Dillon

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