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Governor: Honor those who died by protecting one another

Posted November 19, 2020 1:22 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2020 1:23 p.m. EST

— Gov. Phil Scott is urging Vermonters to honor the people lost to COVID-19 by renewing their commitment to protecting one another.

In April, he had ordered flags lowered at state facilities on the 19th of each month to honor those who had died from the virus. The flags flew at half-staff again Thursday.

“This month we do so amidst rising case counts across the state, increased transmission and growing concern for the health and safety of our most vulnerable neighbors," he said in a written statement Thursday. “Sadly, we’ve now reached the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths nationwide. ”

Three more Vermonters died of COVID-19 this month, Scott said.

“Today, as we remember those we’ve lost, let’s honor them by renewing our commitment to protect one another, to support one another and to listen to what the science and the data are telling us," he said. "If we do, we’ll get through these difficult times faster, and recover stronger, than any other state.”

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In other news related to the coronavirus in Vermont:

NUMBERS

Vermont set another one-day record Thursday for the number of new cases of the coronavirus.

The Vermont Health Department reported nearly 150 new cases, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 3,300.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 21 on Nov. 4 to 89.43 per day on Wednesday.

The latest average positivity rate in Vermont is 1.93%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Vermont, The Associated Press calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 0.63% on Nov. 4 to 1.93% on Wednesday.

Vermont experienced its third COVID-19 fatality this month, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 61.

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UTILITY BILLS

A program that helps Vermonters who can’t pay their utility bills because of the pandemic has been expanded to include unpaid water and sewer bills.

The program, which is being paid for with federal virus relief money, is available for primary homes and Vermont-based businesses. All water and wastewater systems in Vermont now have access to the program.

“The pandemic has been ruthless in visiting economic hardship on so many Vermonters who have lost income and are struggling to keep up with their basic expenses,” said Public Service Commissioner June Tierney.

So far more than 7,000 people have received benefits through the program.

Deputy Public Service Commissioner Riley Allen said the program also includes water, sewer and wastewater charges from municipal departments, community water systems, fire districts and other agencies that provide those services to consumers.

Applications are available on the Department of Public Service’s website.

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