Vermont Sees 81 New Cases Of COVID-19 Wednesday
Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus, legislative leadership and more for Wednesday, Nov. 25.
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The latest coronavirus data:
1. Vermont sees 81 new cases of COVID-19
The Vermont Department of Health reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. There were 21 new cases in Chittenden County, 15 in Washington County and 10 in Orange County.
20 people are hospitalized with the disease, including five people who are being treated in ICUs. Nearly 2,400 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Vermont.
To date, more than 3,800 people in Vermont have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began. More than half a million coronavirus tests have been performed in the state so far.
- Mark Davis
Pandemic leads to drop in travel at Burlington's airport
The pandemic has led to a big drop in holiday travel at Burlington International Airport.
NBC-5 reports Burlington Airport aviation director Gene Richards said about 2,500 people are flying out of the airport this week, a 76% drop from the roughly 10,000 passengers flying this week last year.
Triple A anticipates at least a 10% drop in travel compared to last year.
- Matthew Smith
Caledonia Superior Court closes for week
The Caledonia Superior Court canceled all court events and closed for the rest of the week Tuesday, due to coronavirus cases within the courthouse.
The Caledonian Record reports court administrators found one person tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, and another yesterday morning.
That led to judges having to retrieve their own case files amid short-staffing before the court closed.
Emails about the positive COVID cases went out to anyone who attended court in-person last week.
All Vermont courts are closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Matthew Smith
2. Vermont's top legislative leadership positions to be held by women
Women will hold top leadership positions in the Vermont Legislature next year.
Democrats nominated Windham County Senator Becca Balint to be Senate president pro tem. She'd be the first woman and first openly gay Senator to hold the post, if elected by the full Senate.
Windsor County Democratic Senator Alison Clarkson was picked as majority leader. Rutland Senator Cheryl Hooker is set to be the assistant majority leader and whip.
In the House, Representative Jill Krowinski, a Burlington Democrat, is expected to become the next speaker of the House.
Voters also elected Democrat Molly Gray to be lieutenant governor.
House Republicans will continue to be represented by Minority Leader Pattie McCoy, of Poultney.
- The Associated Press
3. It appears unlikely Sen. Sanders will join Biden's cabinet
It now appears unlikely that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be joining the cabinet of President-elect Joe Biden.
Sanders has said that he would like to serve as the new Secretary of Labor and a number of progressive Democrats have been lobbying for his appointment.
Biden told NBC News that he needs progressive leaders like Sanders to stay in the Senate to help pass the administration's agenda.
"One thing is really critical," Biden said. "Taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House, particularly a person of consequence, is really a difficult decision that would have to be made. I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda, and it's going to take really strong leaders in the House and the Senate to get it done."
Biden is expected to name more cabinet members sometime next week.
- Bob Kinzel
4. Vermont House will hold opening days of 2021 legislative session at Barre Auditorium
House leaders have decided to hold the opening days of the 2021 legislative session at the Barre Auditorium, and then move to a remote system for at least the month of January.
To comply with provisions of the Vermont Constitution, lawmakers will have to meet in-person at the start of a new session.
Gov. Phil Scott is also scheduled to deliver his inaugural address on the second day in Barre.
Outgoing Speaker Mitzi Johnson told members of the House Rules committee that it's not safe to return to the Statehouse at this time.
"Numers started exploding, so I have gotten feedback from many of you that, at least for the month of January, remote makes the most sense," Johnson said.
Johnson said funds should be available to ensure that all House members have access to high speed Internet services.
- Bob Kinzel
5. Vermont Student Assistance Corporation offers virtual college fair
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation next week will hold its first ever virtual college fair.
Patrick Leduc of VSAC says students who can't travel due to the pandemic can talk with representatives from twelve Vermont colleges and universities, as well as go on a virtual tour of the schools.
"With a college fair like this, you can actually see a tour of all the Vermont institutions in one day, as well," Leduc said. "So you can start looking around at what's going on with Northern Vermont University at the same day you're looking at Champlain."
The fair is scheduled for Dec. 2. Students need to register before the event.
- Howard Weiss-Tisman
Disclosure: The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is a VPR underwriter.
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