Republican Gov. Phil Scott told reporters at his weekly press conference Tuesday that the latest coronavirus data trends do not warrant another state of emergency declaration in Vermont.
“Again, for broad mandates, I need to declare a state of emergency, and the data still doesn’t support that step. What’s more, is I don’t think it’s the right approach and my team hasn’t recommended it,” the governor said.
Scott continued that he believes that encouraging vaccinations, rather than forcing lockdowns, is the right strategy for Vermont.
“We simply cannot be in a perpetual state of emergency,” he said. “It sets a dangerous precedent, it’s an abuse of my authority, and the vaccines are proving to be so effective in protecting people.”
The governor said the coronavirus is going to continue on for the foreseeable future “like the flu,” and therefore Vermonters should seek practical protections.
“[We must do] things like staying home when sick and getting tested if you think you’ve been exposed. Especially if you are planning to visit someone who you know is vulnerable, like an older relative or someone with severe illness,” Scott said.
On the ongoing mask-policy debate, Scott noted nearly every school in the state has adopted a mask requirement, so he does not see the need for a mask mandate. “We effectively have a mask-mandate in schools,” he said.
The governor referenced case counts “in the hundreds last week” for COVID-19. He also continued to stress that these cases are mostly among the unvaccinated.
It is not clear how many positive cases have involved symptoms. PCR tests have been criticized for producing high COVID case counts including high numbers of asymptomatic cases. A report by NewsRescue.com highlights that the CDC may have been instructing PCR test users to calibrate the test differently when testing the unvaccinated.
Many unvaccinated workers are now required to get weekly COVID-19 testing, and this new trend could skew data when making comparisons to cases among vaccinated versus unvaccinated Americans.
Scott announced that Vermont’s roughly 8,000 state employees will be forced to take COVID shots or do weekly testing.
The governor himself also warned about getting overworked over large case counts.
“For many months before vaccines, cases were all we talked about,” he said. “It was the most effective way to talk about the risks for hospitalizations, long-term care outbreaks, and deaths. With vaccines, these rates are decreasing.”