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COVID-19: County nursing home to test staff, Stagecoach resumes routes 

Staff and Wire Reports
Published: 6/1/2020 9:42:39 PM
Modified: 6/1/2020 9:42:35 PM

NEWPORT — Sullivan County officials plan to test all of the staff at the county nursing home for COVID-19 and will also test 10% of residents every 10 days, according to a Facebook post on Sunday from County Manager Derek Ferland.

The plans come after a part-time staff member tested positive for the coronavirus last month but was retested and it came back negative.

“Although impossible to say for sure, it is likely that the initial test was a false positive based on the absence of symptoms and all immediate family members were also tested with negative results,” Ferland’s post said.

Working with the New Hampshire Department of Health of Human Services, Sullivan County plans to test all of the nursing home staff and 10% of residents every 10 days, the post said.

“This aggressive testing posture will help us stay one step ahead of the virus and facilitate a rapid response should we get another positive test result,” Ferland wrote.

Stagecoach resumes routes

Tri-Valley Transit said it has added back routes serving Orange County and northern Windsor County through Stagecoach Transportation Services.

As of Monday, River Route buses departing Wells River at 5:50 a.m. and 6:25 a.m. were running again.

Additionally, the 89er North route, departing the Stagecoach depot in Randolph at 7 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., and the 89er South, leaving Randolph at 5:55 a.m. and 4 p.m., were back in service, the agency said.

Circulator buses were also running in the Randolph and Bradford, Vt., area.

Some DMV functions return in Twin States

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles is set to resume drivers’ license tests and people are now able to take learners’ permit tests online, officials said Monday.

During Gov. Phil Scott’s regular COVID-19 briefing, Motor Vehicle Commissioner Wanda Minoli outlined her department’s efforts to resume services that were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID restrictions have required a temporary halt to DMV in-person transactions, but this new online service is another silver lining of the pandemic,” Minoli said in a statement issued after the briefing. “As the DMV continues to modernize, we are now adding learner’s permit tests to the list of services that we provide to Vermonters online.”

Drivers’ license tests will begin June 8. DMV officials will reach out to people whose appointments were canceled due to the pandemic to reschedule them. Starting Wednesday, people can begin making appointments for new exams.

In order to move through the backlog, the department will be using certified driver education instructors to administer road tests for standard and junior operator licenses.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles resumed road tests on Monday after suspending them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under new rules for driver’s education, classes are continuing online but students can now receive in-person road instruction. Both drivers and students are required to wear masks, and cars must be cleaned between sessions.

Vermont courthouses begin to reopen with precautions

Vermont courthouses are resuming more routine operations Monday for the first time since mid-March, but people will be required to wear masks and answer questions about their health.

Courtroom staff have been instructed to maintain social distancing among the members of the public.

“I think it’s going to look different in every courtroom because even if there’s a capacity for, let’s say, 25, not all of our courtrooms will allow for that,” said Vermont chief superior Judge Brian Grearson.

The reopenings of the courts comes as a number of additional sectors of the Vermont economy are reopening. Other areas opening include massage therapists, indoor gymnasiums, cleaning services and some other close contact businesses that will be able to resume limited operations.

Perkinsville fundraiser postponed

The second annual Lace Up For Laura Memorial 5K walk/run has been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Laura Cody McNaughton Memorial Fund has been able to award an $8,000 scholarship thanks to financial support this year.

The memorial run is named for former Weathersfield School Board member Laura Cody McNaughton, who grew up in Springfield, Vt., and was killed in June 2018 when a Charlestown man lost control of his pickup truck during a heavy rain storm on Interstate 91 in Hartland, crossed the median and struck her vehicle head-on.

A Facebook post on Monday said the June 27 event was postponed until next year, but donations to the fund can be mailed to Lamb and McNaughton, P.C., P.O. Box 860, Springfield, VT 05156.

The event last year raised at least $15,000 for an annual scholarship to a Springfield, Vt.-area high school senior.

Cluster monitored in Winooski, Vt.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Monday officials are continuing to work to contain what he has described as a small cluster of seven cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Winooski.

As a result, the Health Department began offering Monday free tests to anyone in Winooski. The tests are being offered at the O’Brien community center all week.

“This is a public health effort,” Levine said. “It’s what we do every day.”

Case numbers

On Monday, the Vermont Health Department reported two new positive cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the total to just under 985. The number of deaths remains at 55.

As of Monday, 4,685 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 39 from the previous day. The number of deaths remained 245.

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