Vermont lawmakers implore Scott to declare Covid-19 emergency – .

Vermont lawmakers implore Scott to declare Covid-19 emergency – .

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Representative George Till, D-Jericho, shows a graph of Covid-19 cases in Vermont during a press conference at Statehouse on Monday, October 25. Photo by Mike Dougherty / VTDigger

Vermont state lawmakers joined healthcare workers, teachers and others at a press conference Monday afternoon to step up pressure on Gov. Phil Scott to restore a declaration of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases rises in the state.

Calls for a mask warrant and other mitigation measures come as Vermont continues to see record growth in cases, fueled in large part by the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19. With a seven-day average of 218 cases per day and 35 cases per 100,000 people, Vermont now has the 17th highest case rate in the country, higher than New York and Massachusetts.

As cases have increased, Scott has resisted calls to reinstate a statewide declaration of emergency, to cease business in person, or to require masks to be worn in public. Instead, he reiterated his call for Vermonters to get the Covid-19 vaccine and booster shots, and implored residents to take “personal responsibility” to curb the spread.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Rep. Erin Brady, D-Williston, said Scott’s message on “personal responsibility … is extremely hurtful to my family and so many others.” Brady is a high school teacher and has two school-aged children – both of whom recently tested positive for the virus after months of caution. Brady and her husband are both vaccinated, but their children are too young.

This marks the third Covid-related class 40 for his third-grader of the school year, Brady said. Brady said she now had to quarantine herself at home with her children, causing what she called a “ripple effect” of her children’s diagnosis that is now impacting her own students. She said she tried to help her children with their homework on opposite sides of a door, by wearing masks.

Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, speaks out in favor of stricter Covid-19 mitigation measures in Vermont during a press conference at Statehouse on Monday, October 25. Photo by Mike Dougherty / VTDigger

“We know the vaccines for children are coming and it will be monumental, but we have many difficult weeks and months before the children are fully immunized,” Brady said. “It is high time to have a mask mandate and to treat our schools with the resources and dignity commensurate with the crisis in which they find themselves.”

Representative Tanya Vyhovsky, D-Essex, who works with school children as a social worker, said students “need to know that they will be safe at school”, but under current conditions, she said. she said, they don’t. She pointed to the increase in reports of misconduct at school as evidence of widespread anxiety among children as the pandemic continues.

“This is not indicative of bad children; it is revealing of children in crisis, of children who do not have the tools or the skills to navigate the unpredictability and anxiety that this pandemic has brought to them, ”she said. “It’s up to adults to do better.

To improve it, she said, the governor’s office would have to reinstate the general mitigation requirements to get the case count because “what we’re doing is clearly not working.”

Representative Tanya Vyhovsky, P / D-Essex Town speaks in favor of tighter Covid-19 mitigation measures in Vermont during a press conference at Statehouse on Monday, October 25, 2021. Photo by Mike Dougherty / VTDigger

“The administration continues to do nothing but raise its hand in defeat,” she said. “Giving up is not acceptable. Vermonters need leadership.

Responding to calls from lawmakers and stakeholders, Scott spokesman Jason Maulucci again highlighted vaccines as the best tool Vermont has to control the virus.

“If the governor felt that state mandates were necessary, he would implement them,” Maulucci said.

“But the point is that declaring a state of emergency after nearly 20 months of experience with this virus and reimposing broad restrictions and closures is not something Vermont would not accept or follow,” a- he declared.

Rather than implementing mandates, Maulucci said Scott would continue to urge Vermont residents to get vaccinated and receive vaccine reminders when they are eligible, as well as “make smart and informed choices” to protect yourself and protect others – “but he’s not going to force them upside down.

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