Welch Says Feds Must Bolster Economy, Help Businesses, Workers

Gov. Phil Scott conducts a briefing on the coronavirus crisis in Vermont. (Screengrab from online stream)

MARSHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — A look at developments related to the coronavirus in Vermont:

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THE NUMBERS

The death toll from the new coronavirus in Vermont rose by one to eight on Wednesday, with six of the deaths linked to an outbreak at a Burlington nursing home and rehabilitation facility, the state Health commissioner said Wednesday. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped to 123.

"I'm very concerned about the slope of that curve and very concerned in our small state about the number of deaths we've had," Levine said during a press conference with the governor.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia or death.

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STAY HOME, STAY SAFE

Gov. Phil Scott ordered Vermonters to stay home and all nonessential businesses and nonprofits to suspend in-person operations and work remotely by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, calling it one of the strongest orders in the country. Grocery stores, health care facilities, pharmacies, hardware stores and media are exempt.

"It's important to remember if we follow these stay-at-home measures closely we can get through quicker and more safely and get on with our daily lives and then we can get our economy moving again," Scott said. “Now I have tremendous faith in Vermonters and our ability to follow this order to save lives and to support each other in this time of need. Now is a moment of service for all of us."

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MEDICAL BEDS AND SUPPLIES

Vermont had 575 beds, 163 ventilators, about 78,400 N-95 masks, and 88,680 surgical masks as of Wednesday, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith. The state will need to double those numbers at a minimum in the future and is working to do so, he said. “That is why we're concentrating on controlling the spread so aggressively so we can hopefully lower numbers and prevent any surge going past the capacity of our health care system,” he said in an interview afterward.

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TRAINS

Vermont will suspend all Amtrak service starting Thursday, in coordination with Amtrak and other states, Scott said.

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SNOWMOBILE TRAILS

The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers known as VAST closed its trail network for the season on Wednesday due to the virus.

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LENGTH OF PANDEMIC RESPONSE

President Trump's hope to have the country re-opened by Easter is “a bit overoptimistic, to say the least,” Scott said. “This is going to take weeks and months and this is going to be difficult so we'll let the science and data drive our decision making and we'll do what's appropriate for Vermont."

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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