The good news, as students have been returning to Vermont’s 13 colleges and being tested for Covid-19, Vermont has seen very few cases. Of the 8,679 tests Vermont colleges have done so far, only 19 have been positive.
The bad news: by contrast, it took just one private party with 40 people at a hotel in Killington on Aug. 19 to result in 14 positive cases, the Vermont Department of Health announced today.
The Vermont Department of Health is investigating a community outbreak of Covid-19 cases in Rutland County. The outbreak is associated with people who attended a private party at the Summit Lodge, a family-owned resort hotel in Killington, on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
To date, the Health Department has identified 14 cases among people who attended the event and their close contacts – meaning the virus has spread to one or more people who did not attend the private party. Health officials said Summit Lodge followed state protocols and guidance and has been a cooperative partner in the outbreak investigation.
The Health Department contact tracing team has been working to reach the more than 40 party attendees. Contact tracing is a critical part of the state’s ability to contain outbreaks, and officials urge anyone who is contacted to please respond to calls from the department.
The investigation began last week as part of the department’s standard outreach to provide guidance for isolation or quarantine following receipt of positive Covid-19 laboratory test results, according to a news release Aug. 31.
People who attended the Aug. 19 event but who have not been in touch with the Health Department are asked to call 802-863-7240 to make sure they have the information they need to protect themselves and others.
People who attended the party, as well as their close contacts, should monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19. Anyone with even mild symptoms should contact their health care provider to be tested.
A pop-up test clinic will be held in Rutland City on Sept. 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Rutland Office of Local Health in the Asa Bloomer Building. Registration is required. People can register for pop-up clinics at healthvermont.gov/Covid19-testing. Additional testing opportunities in the area are being arranged.
Because it is possible to spread the virus without developing symptoms, people who attended the event should also take steps to limit any possible exposure to others.
“We appreciate the cooperation of everyone who has responded to our contact tracing team,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “I particularly thank the management of the Summit Lodge – for their adherence to the state’s guidelines for protecting their guests and employees, and for their assistance and support of our efforts to contain and minimize this outbreak.”
Addressing the people who live and work in the greater Killington area, Dr. Levine said that while an outbreak can cause anxiety within the community, people should know the department is working aggressively to contain further spread of the virus. He urged people to continue to follow the same public health measures as all Vermonters to keep themselves and each other safe — wear face coverings, keep a 6-foot distance from others, wash hands frequently and stay home when sick.
For more information about Covid-19, including symptoms, testing and prevention, visit healthvermont.gov/Covid19.