*UPDATE* Vermont is seeing a significant surge of new COVID-19 cases across the state. Starting November 14, 2020, Governor Scott’s Executive Order. prohibits gatherings with people from other households. This includes both inside and outside gatherings, and in public and private spaces. People who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family living in a different household. Additionally, the Health Department strongly advises against non-essential travel, even within Vermont. Any non-essential travel to and from Vermont requires quarantine.
COVID-19 is highly contagious. People with COVID-19, even those who don’t have any symptoms, can spread the virus to other people.
There are things we can all do to protect ourselves and the people around us from getting or spreading COVID-19. Click on a prevention measure to find out more.
Stay home if you are sick
Why – Staying home keeps illness from spreading to others. Rest also helps you get better.
How – Cancel your plans and stay home from work. Let your friends, family or neighbors know you are not feeling well. Ask if they are willing to drop off food, prescription or other things you need while you recover.
When – Do this any time you have symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses.
Wash your hands
Why – Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer rinses off or kills any germs you may have on them. This lowers your risk of getting infected with a virus if you touch your face, nose or eyes. If you are sick (even if you don’t know yet), washing your hands lowers the risk of spreading your germs to others when touching shared surfaces, such as doorknobs.
How – Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
When – Any time, but it is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also wash your hands any times they are visibly dirty.
Keep your social circle small
Why – Limiting the number of people you are in close contact with lowers your risk of being exposed to COVID-19. It also helps contain the virus more quickly if someone in your social circle gets sick. Close contact means being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Keep your social circle small and choose other trusted households that are also taking health and safety precautions.
How – Before you invite people into your social circle, have an open and honest conversation about what you are doing to stay healthy day-to-day. Focus on what you are comfortable with and why. Try not to judge – your comfort level and reasons may be different than others. This is an ongoing conversation since situations may change over time. Vermonters are advised that social gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, be limited to 10 people.
Be sure to share about:
- Other people you are in close contact with.
- Whether you have traveled recently, or if you plan to be traveling soon.
- What your work, school, home and recreational settings are like. For example, if you have a job where you are around a lot of other people or if you play team sports.
When – Until there is a vaccine and COVID-19 is no longer a threat to public health.
Stay at least 6 feet apart
Why – COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets of a person infected with the virus. These droplets can land about 6 feet (2 meters) away. Keeping a physical distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) lowers the risk of these droplets reaching you and others when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks. It is possible for a person who is infected with COVID-19 to not know they are infected and spread the virus. It can take as many as 14 days to have symptoms and some people never develop symptoms at all.
How – Choose open areas where there is room to spread out. This is typically easier if there are fewer people and you are outdoors. Learn how to do this if you live in shared housing.
When – Any time you are with people you don’t live with or who are outside of your trusted and small social circle. Even when other people around you are wearing masks, it is important to keep a distance as much as possible.
Wear a mask
Why – A mask helps contain your respiratory droplets and can keep them from reaching other people. COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms. Wearing a mask helps protect people around you if you are infected with COVID-19 and don’t know it.
How – Bring a mask with you when you leave home. AGC/VT is offering a limited number of free cloth face masks to the public. Find out if free cloth face masks are available in your area.
When – In Vermont you are required to wear a face mask or covering in public spaces any time it is not possible to keep 6 feet apart from others who are not part of your household. This includes both indoor and outdoor public spaces and group living settings (for example, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, apartment and condo complexes).
Examples of when a face mask is required:
- Trips to any store, pharmacy, doctor, or hospital
- At a gathering in the park with friends and family who do not live in your household
- Walking on a busy and crowded street
WHERE TO GET TESTED
WHO SHOULD GET TESTED
The Health Department recommends testing for people who:
- have symptoms of COVID-19.
- have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- have recently attended an event with people who are not in their usual social circle.
- were referred by their health care provider for testing for another reason.
Travelers may get tested. If you have traveled to Vermont, you must follow quarantine requirements. You have the option to get a test on or after day 7 of quarantine and end your quarantine early with a negative test result.
If you think you should be tested for COVID-19, talk with your health care provider. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 2-1-1 to connect to care or contact the nearest federally qualified health center or one of Vermont’s free and referral clinics.
WHERE TO GET TESTED
If you need testing, there are a variety of options available to you: your primary care provider, pop-up test sites and pharmacies. The Test Site Finder below can help you find other testing near you.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT POP-UP TESTING LOCATIONS
Here are the steps to set up a testing appointment at a pop-up testing site:
- Register to get an account
- Receive an email with your patient ID and use that to confirm your account (check your spam folder if you don’t see the email)
- Log in with your patient ID
- Set up an appointment