- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Vermont residents should do everything they can to avoid “pandemic fatigue” while continuing efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Vermont’s top public health official said Tuesday.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said that for the last eight months, Vermonters have had to change their lives, forgoing many basic social and family activities while being constantly reminded to wear masks and maintain social distance from people.

“Not that we’ve been alone here in Vermont, this a global event, but it is exhausting, both physically and mentally,” Levine said during a virus briefing.

He said that while vaccines are being developed, they are still a ways off. And once vaccines are approved, they will take time to produce and distribute.

“As we start to head into the holiday season, I’m asking us all to join together to take a moment to recenter, to step back from pandemic fatigue and rededicate to doing everything we can to keep the virus from spreading,” Levine said.



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HOCKEY OUTBREAK

Levine said the number of virus cases stemming from what’s an outbreak linked to a Montpelier rink has grown to 34.

Those cases include people who were exposed directly due to activities linked to the Central Vermont Civic Center and secondary infections.

Contact tracing has shown that the sporting activities at the rink - hockey and broomball - do not appear to be the source of the infection. Rather, the cases appear to be linked to related activities such as carpooling, travel and socializing.

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NUMBERS

Statistics compiled by the state of Vermont show the state still has the lowest rate of weekly infections per 100,000 people in the country. The weekly rate is 11. Maine is the next lowest state, at 16 cases per 100,000. The national average is 152.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Health Department reported on Tuesday that there were 10 new confirmed cases of the virus across the state, bringing the total since the pandemic began to more than 1,950.

Of the new cases, three were reported in Washington County, two in Caledonia and Addison counties and one each in Chittenden, Windsor and Orange counties.

There are currently no patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and it has been more than two months since Vermont has recorded its last fatality from the disease, leaving the number of deaths at 58.

The state also updated its travel map on Tuesday, which governs from where people can travel to Vermont without quarantining. The number of people across the Northeast who are eligible to visit Vermont continues to shrink.

The state looks at counties in northeastern states where the virus activity is less than 400 active cases per million residents. The total is now down to about 1.6 million people, down from about 1.8 million last week.

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