We’re always keeping a close eye on what’s going on around the country and the numbers we’re seeing are concerning.

As we show you each week, our trends in Vermont have held pretty steady. And while, as expected, we’ve seen more cases as we’ve methodically opened back up, we still have a lot to be proud of.

We now have the lowest number of cases in the nation, moving past Hawaii over the weekend. And our positivity rate has remained among the lowest, if not the lowest, in the country. We haven’t had a death in over a month, which no other state can say.

But looking across the country, we continue to see a forest fire spreading in the south and west and things could shift back towards us. So we have to keep our guard up, because I know every Vermonter wants to move forward, not backward.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on ways to strengthen our ability to suppress the virus, including increased testing and contact tracing. And, we’re looking at other methods and strategies that will help prevent increases that exceed our ability to contain spread.

Another option we’re considering is expanding our existing mask mandates. As I’ve said, a mask mandate is a tool we have in the toolbox, and as with every health decision we’ve made, when to use that tool will be driven by the data.

And if it continues to look like this regional fire could be headed back toward us, an expanded mask policy will be part of the mix. We’ll have more information by Friday when Commissioner Pieciak presents the regional data.

Vermonters have done a great job protecting each other, and made tremendous sacrifices. But I know many are tired of doing so, and just want things back to normal. But, the fact is, this virus is going to be with us for a while, and will be until a vaccine is in place.

What we’re seeing in some states is a cautionary tale for us here in Vermont. But the smarter we are, the better off we’ll be. That means continuing to follow Department of Health guidelines.

Thank you for all you’ve done, and for what you’ll need to do in the future.

Governor Phil Scott
7/21/2020