- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2020

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott said Monday he appreciated President-elect Joe Biden’s immediate attention to the pandemic.

Scott’s comments came after Biden unveiled a coronavirus advisory board made up of scientists and public health officials who will develop a blueprint for fighting the pandemic. It includes doctors and scientists who have served in previous administrations, many of them experts in public health, vaccines and infectious diseases.

In a statement, Scott said that since the pandemic began, he has listened to the advice of his health advisers and the state has consistently had among the lowest virus numbers in the country. As a result, the state has been able to gradually reopen the economy safely.

“It will be critical for the new Administration to hit the ground running when it comes to COVID-19, and it’s clear they are taking that responsibility seriously,” Scott said in a statement released by his office.

Scott’s comments came after he and Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine urged residents to redouble their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus while the state is working to clamp down on a spike in transmission of the coronavirus.

Vermonters are urged to avoid unnecessary travel, including for the upcoming holidays, and to limit the size of gatherings.

The state is now strongly urging that any private social gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people from a limited number of trusted households.

In addition to reporting large numbers of new cases of the virus over the weekend, Vermont on Saturday reported the first COVID-19 fatality in the state since late July.

Some of the new cases are associated with current outbreaks, while others are scattered throughout various communities. Many of the cases are being traced back to social gatherings where masking and physical distancing break down.

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