Vermont Coronavirus Updates For Saturday, April 25
Vermont reporters provide a round-up of ongoing local coverage of coronavirus for Saturday, April 25.
SNAP benefits going online for some stores
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Vermonters who receive federal food assistance will soon be able to purchase products online from retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.
Vermont has about 70,000 individuals, or about 30,000 households, who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps.
The USDA said with the inclusion of Vermont and other states to the online system, more than half of all participating households will be eligible for the online purchases.
- John Dillon
Local dairy producers looking to give away surplus, letting go of migrant workers
Local dairy farmers are hoping to soon give away some of their surplus milk and dairy products.
National demand for milk has plummeted as restaurants and schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And many farmers have been forced to dump their milk.
Leon Berthiaume is general manager of Dairy Farmers of America's St. Albans creamery, and he said farmers would prefer to give away products versus seeing food go to waste.
“The Vermont Foodbank is very much a part of this discussion,” Berthiaume said. “We're very involved in this as well, given that, again if there is an opportunity for us to divert milk from having to be disposed. that is, you know, more preferable.”
Anti-hunger programs said they've seen a big jump in demand for services. Last past week, the National Guard and the Vermont Foodbank handed out prepared meal packages in Rutland and Franklin counties.
Farmworker Jose Ignacio De la Cruz testified recently before the Senate Agriculture Committee and said the workers producing those dairy products are also struggling to access food. Migrant Justice organizer Will Lambek interpreted for him.
“One of our urgent needs right now is about food. We're seeing that the cost of food for us is going up, and that's causing difficulties,” De la Cruz said.
He added farms are also closing.
"In Addison County, one farm just closed in Shoreham and another one just closed in Bridport," De la Cruz said. "And so employers are letting workers go because of the crisis.”
- John Dillon
Another 16 new cases of COVID-19, two more deaths
As of Saturday, 843 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Vermont, up from 827 on Friday. Twelve are hospitalized due to the virus, and another two people have died, bringing the total to 46.
The Vermont Department of Health website shows that 14,682 people have been tested for the coronavirus so far.
- Mary Engisch and Elodie Reed
New Hampshire experiencing outbreaks, calls off summer fairs
New Hampshire officials said two more long-term care facilities have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks. A nursing home in Derry had four residents and three staff members who tested positive.
The state also plans to call off some summer fairs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday, more than 1,600 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus and 51 had died. Gov. Chris Sununu said he'll ask the Legislature to repeal business tax "triggers" that were included in the state budget and were dependent on the economy.
- Mary Engisch