Gov. Scott to Vermonters: Coronavirus Outbreak to ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better'

As of Sunday, 512 Vermont residents had tested positive for COVID-19

phil scott coronavirus news conference

Gov. Phil Scott on Monday urged Vermonters to continue practicing social distancing, saying the coronavirus outbreak would reach its peak in the state in the "coming days and weeks."

"As we head into the next few weeks, we need to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better," Scott said in a news conference.

"Staying home and separating... from others will be more important than ever," he said, adding failing to do so would overburden the health care system and lead to more deaths.

As of Sunday, 512 Vermont residents had tested positive for COVID-19. Sixty-two people were being monitored and 745 had completed monitoring, according to data provided by the state.

However, Scott said he was "cautiously optimistic" that distancing measures were helping to slow the spread of the virus.

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Health commissioner Mark Levine said the state's positivity rate -- the percentage of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 -- was averaging in the range of 10% to 12%. Levine said this favorably compared to higher rates in states such as New York, New Jersey and Florida.

"I'd like us to realize this is actually a sign all of the hard work everyone is doing is actually paying off," he said.

On Friday, Levine recommended that residents wear cloth masks in public even if they don't have symptoms, based on federal guidelines. This was a reversal from previous advice saying this was not necessary or helpful.

"Wearing a face mask may help people from spreading the virus," Levine said, noting that other cloth facial coverings may also be effective.

Wearing a cloth mask would not prevent the wearer from getting the virus, but could help keep asymptomatic people with coronavirus from spreading it.

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