The Vermont Department of Health announced three more cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, a day after Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency to combat the spread of the disease.
One patient was a Windsor County man in his nineties. He was hospitalized at the Veterans Administration hospital in White River Junction.
Another was a Washington County man in his fifties who had returned from Italy and had been self-isolating prior to showing symptoms toward the end of his two-week quarantine, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said Saturday in a phone call with lawmakers on the legislature’s Joint Rules Committee.
That man was initially treated at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin and was then in home isolation, following the hospital's protocols, the department said. Levine said the patient was doing “fine” without hospitalization.
The third case was another man in his fifties, from Westchester County, N.Y. Levine said that man had traveled to his second home in Vermont “wanting to escape the virus" but became "another coronavirus statistic” after starting to show symptoms within 24 hours of his arrival. The man was treated at Vermont's Springfield Hospital and later released.
Vermont health officials say they've been in contact with their counterparts in neighboring states to inform them of the new cases. The Vermont health department's team has begun investigating the patients' travel histories and working to identify anyone who may have been in close contact with them, according to a press release.
"They will be assessed for their exposure risk and provided with guidance for their health and recommendations for self-isolation or other restrictions," the department's press release said.
Levine said Friday that the state had begun ramping up its testing efforts. He expected the state to test more than 100 people on Friday alone and said experience from other states showed that this number will continue to increase.
As of Saturday, the state was monitoring about 200 people after already ending monitoring of about 130, Levine said.
The three new cases bring Vermont's total to five: four presumptive positives and one that has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health department’s website only lists four, noting the fifth case involves the New York patient, but Levine said the case “certainly belongs to us for the time being.”
Scott's emergency order on Friday included a ban on nonessential gatherings of more than 250 people and a restriction on access to long-term eldercare facilities. He also limited out-of-state travel by state employees and said his administration will help those who can work remotely do so.
He fell short of closing schools, however, but said that could quickly change.
Correction, March 14, 2020: The person from New York who tested positive for the virus was "self-isolating" and was not being treated at Springfield Hospital. An earlier version of this story contained erroneous information from the health department.