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New England coronavirus briefs: Vermont warns against complacency

  • A passer-by uses a mobile device near a window featuring a likeness, left, of chef and social media star known as Salt Bae outside the Nusr-Et Boston restaurant, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Boston. The restaurant opened by the Turkish restaurateur, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, was ordered closed Sunday, Sept. 27, because officials said it posed a "imminent threat to public health and public safety resulting from the ongoing and repeated failure to adhere to COVID-19 public safety standards." (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Tushar Gupta, of Boston, right, uses a mobile device near a window featuring a likeness, left, of chef and social media star known as Salt Bae outside the Nusr-Et Boston restaurant, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Boston. The restaurant opened by the Turkish restaurateur, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, was ordered closed Sunday, Sept. 27, because officials said it posed a "imminent threat to public health and public safety resulting from the ongoing and repeated failure to adhere to COVID-19 public safety standards." (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Associated Press
Published: 9/29/2020 9:53:51 PM
Modified: 9/29/2020 9:53:45 PM

Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday urged Vermonters not to become complacent about the coronavirus with the number of cases growing in some other parts of the country, the Northeast and Quebec.

Vermont had a total of 50 cases from Sept. 15-28, its lowest two-week total since late May when there were 45.

“With the positive trends we’ve had for months, I know it can be easy to let your guard down, to get out more, see more fr iends, go to more gatherings, interact with more and with different groups, get a little closer, stay a little longer and pull that mask down more often,” said Scott, a Republican. But the safety measures are in place for a reason and are working, he said.

“If we let up, and get more relaxed all of the hard work we’ve done can slip away as well, just like we’ve seen in other places like Hawaii, Montana and even Wyoming,” he said.

Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who is managing the state’s COVID-19 data, pointed to several outbreaks in Maine linked to a wedding and reception in Millinocket, Maine, in early August that became a superspreader event.

That event led to outbreaks in different parts of the state including at a nursing home in Madison and a jail in southern Maine, with 180 cases and eight deaths. The eight who died had not attended the wedding.

It’s “really critical not to become complacent,” he said.

Scott urged Vermonters to keep track of what they’re doing and how many people they come into contact with, wear a mask, keep six feet apart, even among friends, and avoid large crowds, especially indoors. While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

Vermont says schools,colleges reopening smoothly

The restart of schools and colleges and universities continues to go well, Vermont officials said Tuesday, with low numbers of COVID-19 cases.

“We are really not having much more than a plateau in cases in those settings,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

In primary schools, Vermont has had four confirmed COVID-19 cases in three schools and one presumptive case, Pieciak said. The presumptive case is in Caledonia County where someone tested positive by antigen test and results of a PCR test are pending, Levine said.

That compares to New Hampshire with 53 cases in 36 schools and Maine with 32 cases in 15 schools, he said.

“We still are comparing quite favorably even to those states that have low prevalence in their communities,” he said.

Among Vermont’s colleges and universities, there have been 47 positive tests as of Monday, state officials said.

Rutland nursing facilitysees COVID-19 case

Two employees and one patient at a Rutland nursing facility have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Testing was underway for all staff and residents of the Mountain View Center, officials said. The Health Department learned of the positive cases on Friday.

“We’re still awaiting further data but there have been no other cases reported in that facility,” Levine said Tuesday. “The facility is practicing great infectious control practices and all the appropriate quarantining of staff and patients has occurred.”

NH community loan fund gets money for small businesses

CONCORD — A total of $557,000 is going to the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund to support small businesses and promote economic growth in communities amid the pandemic, the state’s congressional delegation said Tuesday.

“As the economic fallout spurred by this pandemic worsens, it is essential that New Hampshire businesses have the support they need to survive this crisis,” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, said the fund “is providing critical financial support to communities in need, including to support affordable housing.”

The award was allocated by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which enables organizations like the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities.

Salt Bae’s restaurantapologizes aftercoronavirus violations

A lawyer for a Boston steakhouse opened by the chef and social media star known as Salt Bae apologized Tuesday after the restaurant was shut down for violating coronavirus safety rules.

Dennis Quilty, a lawyer for the Nusr-Et Boston restaurant, told officials on the city License Board that restaurant operators are “very apologetic” and want to “work cooperatively” with the board, police department and other officials, NBC Boston reported.

The restaurant opened by the Turkish restaurateur, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, was ordered closed Sunday because officials said it posed a “imminent threat to public health and public safety resulting from the ongoing and repeated failure to adhere to COVID-19 public safety standards.”

Officials said inspectors who visited the restaurant found violations including a “long line of patrons and failure to socially distance.”




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