COVID-19 news of the day: Vermont prison on lockdown; Woodstock Farmers Market worker tests positive

Staff and wire reports
Published: 4/7/2020 9:15:41 PM
Modified: 4/8/2020 9:33:44 AM

Here is the COVID-19 news of the day in the Upper Valley:

Vermont inmate tests positive

One inmate at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, Vt., is being monitored with symptoms of COVID-19, and the prison is on a complete lockdown after three staff members tested positive for the illness, the Department of Corrections said Tuesday.

The inmate with symptoms has been isolated from other inmates and is being monitored in a special room, said Al Cormier of the Department of Corrections, who briefed the press on the situation. The most recent of the infected staff members had contact with inmates and was last in the facility on Friday.

The inmates are mostly being held two to a cell, where they are being fed. They are only allowed out for emergencies and hygiene, although efforts are being made to allow inmates out on a limited basis for exercise.

Inmates in St. Albans and at other Vermont prisons are being issued cloth masks with a goal of eventually giving each inmate three masks so they can be washed every day. Inmates' temperatures are being taken three times a day, and staff members are being tested when they arrive for work.

As of Tuesday, 575 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Vermont, up by 32 from Monday, and 23 people have died.

Gov. Phil Scott requested federal aid to help Vermont pay for its response to COVID-19. If approved the assistance would provide a 75% reimbursement to state and local governments and some nonprofit groups.

Airport funding

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday he worries that Manchester-Boston Regional Airport could be harmed by provisions of the federal coronavirus relief bill.

In a letter to transportation officials, the Republican governor said the act allows airlines to request permission to consolidate operations to a single airport within a 150-mile area. That might make sense in cities with multiple airports, he said, but it doesn't not make sense in New England.

Sununu said he worries that any even a temporary shifting of capacity will result in federal money flowing out of New Hampshire and into Massachusetts.

“The combined loss of access to the national airspace system and the lost federal and local dollars that would not be reinvested into local communities will result in further erosion of economic activity across the Granite State and delay our return to economic prosperity,” he wrote.

As of Tuesday, there had been 747 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths in New Hampshire.

As of Tuesday, there had been 747 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths in New Hampshire.

Woodstock Farmers Market worker tests positive

A worker at the Woodstock Farmers Market has tested positive for COVID-19, market officials told customers in an email on Tuesday. The employee last worked on Wednesday, April 1, and began having symptoms on Thursday, the email said.

“We want to reassure you that we are doing — and will continue to do — everything possible to provide food for your table as safely as possible,” the email said.

The Route 4 market has been closed to the public since March 17 and has been doing scheduled curbside pickup of orders.

Farmers Market employees are doing hourly disinfecting and are now required to wear gloves and facial coverings while working, according to the email.

Vermont courts postpone jury trials

The Vermont Supreme Court this week suspended all jury draws and jury trials scheduled to take place on or before May 15, and also is now allowing appellate briefs and other filings to be submitted initially by email. The high court may also now hold oral arguments through video or other electronic means and would provide public access digitally.

In addition, the bar exam scheduled for July has been postponed to a date to be determined.

Prouty changes

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center won’t hold its annual Prouty fundraiser on July 11 but is instead holding a “Virtual Prouty” between June 1 and July 11.

Participants are being encouraged to bike, walk, row, golf or undertake another activity as a fundraiser for the cancer center, which is linked to both Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Fundraising minimums have been eliminated for Prouty participants, and are being reduced significantly for riders in the Prouty Ultimate event. More information is expected by April 13, according to a Prouty Facebook post.

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