Vt. Announces 8th Death From Coronavirus; ‘Stay at Home,' Gov. Scott Says

Non-essential businesses are mandated to close to in-person operations Wedensday

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Vermont officials on Wednesday announced the state's eighth death from COVID-19, urging residents to follow social distancing guidelines to help stem the spread of the disease.

Six of the fatal cases are connected to the Burlington Health & Rehab care facility, health commissioner Mark Levine said in a press conference.

Officials said the total number of confirmed cases stood at 123 Wednesday, up from 95 a day earlier.

The announcement came a day after Gov. Phil Scott ordered non-essential businesses to halt in-person operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a news conference, Scott emphasized the need to follow social distancing guidelines.

"I need you to stay at home," Scott said in a news conference," he said. "Doing so will save lives. It's just that simple."

Scott acknowledged the order would be difficult on businesses but said the moves was necessary, adding "it's possible more may be needed," if the disease continues to spread.

The order mandates that all businesses and not-for-profit entities not exempted suspend all in-person business operations by Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Online or phone operations, or sales through curbside pickup or delivery only, can continue. Grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, health care operations and news media are exempt. 

Scott added that all Amtrak operations in the state had been halted due to the outbreak.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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