3 state officials, in addition to governor, test negative

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Three other state officials, in addition to Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, have tested negative for the coronavirus after possible exposure at the governor's twice-weekly virus briefings, the governor's office said Thursday.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, Human Services Secretary Mike Smith and Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling were tested on Wednesday, officials said. The governor's office announced Wednesday that Scott had tested negative and that he and five other Vermont state officials were quarantining after possible exposure at the virus briefings on Tuesday and last Friday from a participant who had tested positive.

“All Administration officials in quarantine are experiencing no symptoms,” Jason Maulucci, the governor's press secretary, said in a written statement.

State officials who are in quarantine are expected to participate in Friday’s coronavirus briefing remotely.

In other Vermont news related to the pandemic:

VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

Vermont officials are expected to release more information Friday about how people age 75 can get vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19.

On Monday, the state will begin taking reservations for that age group. During the state's twice-weekly virus briefing on Friday, state officials are expected to announce details of how people can make those appointments.

The next age group will be 70 and up, followed by 65 and older.

After older Vermonters are vaccinated, the focus will shift to people between 18 and 64 who have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from the virus.

It’s unclear how long that will take because officials don’t know how much vaccine the state will be receiving.

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NUMBERS

The Vermont Health Department reported 101 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to nearly 10,600.

There are currently 45 people hospitalized, including five in intensive care.

A total of 168 Vermonters have died of COVID-19, up three from Wednesday, according to the Health Department.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 126 new cases per day on Jan. 6 to 157.57 new cases per day on Jan. 20.