By Guy Page
Vermonters tempted to go soft on Covid-19 vigilance should consider what happened after a church wedding in Maine, the Scott administration said Tuesday.
Here in Vermont, there are no new Vermont Covid-19 fatalities and no-one is hospitalized, Dept. of Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Piecak reported at today’s press conference. It’s been more than two months since a Vermonter died of Covid-19.
But over in Maine, Covid is back. Sending what Gov. Scott called “a warning of what could happen,” Piecak’s weekly modeling report included a six-slide “outbreak analysis” stemming from a church wedding in northern Millinocket, Maine in August. The outbreak then followed attendees home to southern York County, home to the popular Ogunquit and Wells beach destinations. The outbreak is up to 180 cases and is responsible for eight deaths, according to the analysis.
The indoor wedding featured choral singing, no social distancing, and few masks, one slide said. The “pastor continues to encourage no mask wearing,” the analysis said. Testing positive were 18 wedding attendees (including the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford), based on information from the Maine CDC and the Portland Press Herald.
Gov. Phil Scott is unaware of any Vermont police agencies losing 911 service due to the nationwide 911 outage that occurred last night. However, the State of Vermont did lose some email capacity, he said at a press conference today.
The loss of 911 service has been linked to a problem at Microsoft, according to media reports.
Vermont Daily asked: “CNN and Fox both reported that many last night police departments nationwide lost 911 service and other computer services for a period of time, apparently due to a problem at Microsoft. Was Vermont affected and if so how and in the future what should Vermonters do if they find that no-one answers 911?”
“I asked that very question [at a meeting with state officials] this morning,” Gov. Scott said. Vermont IT czar John Quinn “wasn’t aware at that point” of any 911 impact, but is investigating.
“Certainly the Microsoft issue affected our email,” Scott said. “I don’t even know the cause at this point.” Meeting on Microsoft Teams was affected, he said. “It had an effect on some of the emails coming through, but I think they finally did.”
Protesters burning newspapers “unfortunate,” guv says – Mike Donoghue of the Islander asked Gov. Scott about Burlington BLM protesters seizing and burning Seven Days newspapers last week. “What does it say about censorship and intolerance?” Donoghue asked. “I thought it was unfortunate in many respects,” Scott responded. “Censorship isn’t good. It may have backfired a bit. They (Seven Days) just published more copies and more people may have read the story.”
“Does it bother you that fire has been added, as has been seen across the country?” Donoghue asked. Scott answered, “Hopefully they will learn from that and not do it again. … Anything that involves fire … is regrettable,” Scott said.
The Scott administration is “still contemplating” a court challenge to the Global Warming Solutions Act, Gov. Scott said.
Vermont Daily asked: “Last night Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said Senate Democrats are moving away from representative government and towards what he calls Declarative Government, in which bureaucrats make policy. Would you say the Global Warming Solutions Act fits this general description, and does your administration have any specific plans to contest the GWSA in court?”
Scott repeated his statement that the Legislature can opt to give up its own authority, but cannot do so on behalf of the executive branch. He added that he is also dealing with preparing the 2021-22 budget draft, and whether to veto other high-profile bills that have not yet reached his desk.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.