0327 Online Virus Outbreak-Vermont Legislature

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, left, wears a mask while talking to a lawmaker in the Vermont house chamber, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. The House was working to pass measures designed to help the state respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is poised to receive almost $2 billion in support from the nearly $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package that is making its way through Congress, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

The legislation, which passed the Senate on Wednesday and is expected to pass the House on Friday, includes $1.25 billion to support the state and counties that are addressing the economic devastation caused by the virus.

Among other appropriations for Vermont, the bill will provide $20 million to support public transportation, $5.4 million to support public health preparedness and $4.7 million in community development block grants.

“Vermont is already reeling from the impacts of the spread of the coronavirus," Leahy said in a news release late Wednesday. “I have heard from hundreds of small businesses and entities across the state, struggling to support their employees and maintain their businesses.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

SCHOOLS CLOSED STATEWIDE

Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced on Thursday that all schools — pre-k-12 — and the cancellation of all school-related activities will be dismissed through the end of school year. The directive supersedes Scott's previous order that schools will be closed until April 6.

Scott’s office said local districts have set up “creative and critically needed programs to offer onsite care” and other options for healthcare workers and others who are essential to Vermont’s response to the virus outbreak

UNEMPLOYMENT SPIKE

Unemployment claims rose dramatically in Vermont, as they did elsewhere in the country. The Vermont Department of Labor reported Thursday that 3,784 initial claims were filed during the week of March 15-21, compared with 659 the previous week.

THE NUMBERS

The Vermont Department of Health reported Thursday that the number of people who have tested positive in the state jumped by almost three dozen to just under 160 and that there was an additional fatality, bringing to nine the number of people in the state who have died from COVID-19.

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