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Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

News in Brief: Three students, one employee test positive for Covid-19

Update — Tuesday, Nov. 23

The day after this article was published, three new cases were reported on the college’s Covid-19 Reporting Dashboard. These positives bring the total number of active cases to 10, now that one of the previous eight cases is no longer active. There are now three active employee cases and seven active student cases.

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Three students and one employee have tested positive for Covid-19, a Friday afternoon all-school email from administrators said, bringing the total number of active cases to eight — six students and two employees.

The college has reported a cumulative 15 positives out of 5,273 tests this fall, and the current cases mark the highest number of simultaneous active cases this semester, according to the data in the Middlebury Covid-19 Reporting Dashboard.

Chief Health Officer and College Physician Mark Peluso and Vice President for Student Affairs Smita Ruzika noted the recent cases and the current environment in the state in their email.

“This news was somewhat expected, with the higher prevalence of Covid-19 in Vermont,” the administrators wrote.

Regarding the new cases, Peluso and Ruzika said that contact tracing was underway and reminded students and employees of opportunities for testing and Vermont’s booster shot program.

Though in-season athletes and unvaccinated students are required to get tested, there is currently no mandatory screening testing for all students. Asymptomatic testing — for students with a known or suspected exposure but no Covid-19 symptoms — is available on Mondays, and the college has offered additional optional testing days before and after the Nov. 24–28 break.

Though the state was praised for its pandemic response throughout much of the past year and a half, Vermont’s cases are on the rise. Over the past two weeks, cases have increased by 21%, according to The New York Times. Vermont broke its single-day case record on Nov. 4, with 487 positives, then broke the record again one week later, with 591 positives reported on Nov. 11. 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has not implemented an indoor masking mandate, despite calls from members of the state legislature. Instead, the governor called a special session of the legislature, scheduled for Nov. 22, to pass a measure permitting municipalities to introduce temporary mandates with a required expiration date of April 30.


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