The Vermont Health Department is reporting 30 possible cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 among people who were tested at a clinic in Manchester.

The cases that came back positive used antigen tests that were conducted at the Manchester Medical Center and are faster but less reliable that the diagnostic tests used more commonly in Vermont, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Tuesday.

Vermont does not count tests as positive unless they are done with the more reliable system, but followup is being conducted with the people who tested positive, both to confirm the initial diagnosis and trace any possible route of infection.

A testing site for people without symptoms has been set up for Wednesday at the Flood Brook School in Londonderry where many of the people who were tested in Manchester live.

“Maybe by the end of the week we will actually have a bunch of positive cases,” Levine said during the regular virus briefing along with Gov. Phil Scott.

In introducing Levine, Human Services Secretary Michael Smith reminded people not to travel to out-of-state locations that are not within the state’s trusted travel designation regions and then return to Vermont without quarantining.

He said he had seen such reports, although he wouldn’t specifically say if they were linked to the outbreak in Manchester and the nearby town of Londonderry.

“All I’m trying to do here is deliver a reminder to Vermonters that we all need to do our part, that we continually need to be vigilant and we have to do our part to contain this virus,” Smith said.

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AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE

Scott announced Tuesday a $25 million program to help Vermont dairy farmers and dairy processors whose operations have been hurt by the pandemic. The program will begin accepting applications on Friday.

Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts said that since March 1, 25 Vermont dairy farms have shut down. The rolling average before COVID was the loss of 1.5 farms a month.

“The figures are pretty sobering,” Tebbetts said.

As of Tuesday, Vermont had 636 cow dairies, 47 goat dairies and five sheep dairies.

In addition to the assistance for dairies, the Agriculture Agency is preparing grant programs, $5 million for non-dairy farmers, farmers' markets and slaughterhouses and a $500,000 program to help operators of country fairs and field days.

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NUMBERS

On Tuesday, the Health Department reported four new positive cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to just over 1,300. Three people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state.

However the numbers did not count any cases that would be part of the potential outbreak in the Manchester and Londonderry. Any positive cases will be counted once they have been confirmed.

The number of deaths remains at 56, where it has been since mid-June.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia, or death.

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

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