BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the state prison in Newport, the Department of Corrections said Thursday.

Testing done Monday found nine new positive cases among inmates at the Northern State Correctional Facility and one new case among the staff, the department said.

“We are fully prepared to handle new positive cases at our facilities and it’s encouraging to see the spread slowing in Newport,” said Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker.

The outbreak began after testing on Feb. 23. There are currently 115 cases among inmates and 12 among the state.

By Friday, 106 inmates who tested positive are expected to be medically cleared to leave isolation. At that point the total number of positive cases among inmates will be 13.

The prison remains on full lockdown. All other Vermont prisons are on modified lockdown.

On Thursday a total of 16 staff and 120 inmates throughout the state's corrections system had tested positive for the virus.



Vermont opened appointments Thursday so people with preexisting health conditions can be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The opening came four days earlier than expected because fewer people in the 55-64 age group signed up than had been expected.

People who are now eligible for the vaccine include people who are suffering from cancer; certain lung diseases; heart, chronic kidney, and sickle cell diseases; diabetes; severe obesity; Down syndrome and other disabilities; and women who are pregnant.

A full list can be found on the website of the Vermont Health Department.

People do not need a doctor’s note or proof of a health condition to sign up. You will be asked for information about a health care provider, but people who do not have a health care provider will still be able to sign up.



On Thursday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 128 new cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 16,500.

There were 27 people hospitalized across the state with COVID-19, including three in intensive care.

The number of people who have died remained unchanged at 211.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 110.29 on Feb. 23 to 126.29 on March 9.

The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.43 on Feb. 23 to 0.57 deaths on March 9.