Five COVID-19 cases reported in Manchester

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MANCHESTER — A doctor at Manchester Medical Center is warning the town of a COVID-19 outbreak in the area and has warned people to stay vigilant and safe.

Dr. Janel Kittredge-Sterling, who with her husband Dr. Thomas Sterling opened the urgent care clinic one year ago in Manchester, posted to Facebook Saturday saying their clinic had five positive tests and is awaiting results on dozens of additional tests.

"As anticipated, with relaxed guidelines and the sense of security in our well managed Southern Vermont region, positive cases are proving that the virus is very much out there and floating through the community," Kittredge-Sterling wrote in a post, which was shared by the Manchester Medical Center's Facebook page.

While being careful not to violate privacy rules such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Kittredge-Sterling did say that those who tested positive were both area residents and people visiting from outside the area.

She also revealed some demographic data, saying four of the five were younger than 55 years of age and two were kids, ages 12 and 13.

Kittredge-Sterling said none of the five required hospitalization.

On Saturday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Vermont, raising the cumulative total to 1,296.

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The 14 new cases included nine cases in Chittenden County, three in Grand Isle County, and one each in Rutland and Lamoille counties.

None of the five Manchester cases were included in those new cases.

It was not clear how many of the five cases were local and how many were visiting.

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The visiting cases will be tallied by their home state and will not be counted among Vermont's numbers.

Bennington County's cumulative total stands at 74.

Vermont's death toll stands at 56.

Kittredge-Sterling said now is the time to be extra careful because the virus can spread rapidly.

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"Where there is one case, there will be two, then three, then four and so on with a rapid increase because this virus is so contagious," Kittredge-Sterling said. "Please folks, be so very careful. Physical distance. Masks to prevent respiratory droplet spread. A lot of caution with crowds of any size. And be careful with your kids. We are doing the best we can to keep our community safe. Please do your part."

Kittredge-Sterling was asked about contact tracing and she said families should start by notifying those they had been in contact with.

"The state departments also do what they can," Kittredge-Sterling said. "State departments in many states are so taxed, that this process has become quite cumbersome. It helps a great deal if those infected reach out to those they were in contact with so those folks can be in high alert for symptoms and seek out testing."

The Town of Manchester, in a Facebook post, reminded people that masks are available at Kilburn's Convenience Store on Depot Street. The masks are a partnership with the town and are sold at cost for $1 each. There was also discussion about making masks available at more locations in Manchester to encourage visitors to wear them.

Kittredge-Sterling said it's important not to ostracize those who have tested positive.

"Kids are already so anxious about this whole situation," Kittredge-Sterling said. "Let's be compassionate, not place blame on those who become infected."

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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