Vermont increasing contact tracing, testing capacity

BOSTON (AP) — Vermont is increasing its contract tracing staff and testing capacity as it continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases.

Officials said this week that the state’s contact tracing staff of about 40 will add about 20 more from the state National Guard and 10 more from the state Department of Public Safety over the next two weeks.

“The contract tracing team has been stressed as you might imagine at this point,” Gov. Phil Scott said at his virus briefing on Friday. “We did get a bit of a break on one day this week when it went down to like 50 (daily cases reported) and we’re adding people all the time, training and adding.”

Scott said testing locations will also ramp up to seven days a week and most residents will soon be about a 30 minute drive from a site.

The state hopes to have the capacity to test 30,000 Vermonters a week, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.

“And that’s excluding colleges who will be ramping down as they send their students home,” he said.

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