MONTPELIER-Even with the Omicron variant, the country has the tools, so it won’t be necessary to fall back to the 2020 mandates. That was the message Gov. Phil Scott brought to his weekly press conference Tuesday.

“We have vaccines, boosters, testing, and the common sense precautions we talked about, like wearing masks indoors and crowded public spaces and staying home when sick,” the governor said, who was echoing comments made by President Joe Biden during a video call on Monday. Scott also said Biden discussed the federal effort to acquire half a billion at-home COVID test kits for Americans. Scott added that rapid tests are in high demand across the country. “We know how important and useful they are, and we handed out tens of thousands of them last week, and we will continue to do so this week.”

Scott said he understands the frustrations because the state didn’t have enough tests for everyone who wanted one. He promised that Vermont is doing its best with what it has until the federal supply chain starts flowing. Vermont recently received a shipment of tests, and while the majority were meant for schools and long-term care facilities, the state is getting excess supplies out the door as fast as they can, said Scott, who hopes the supply will increase. Scott added that in the next day or so, the state will announce a strategy to get rapid tests to parents before school resumes after winter break.

“The goal will be to have over 80,000 test kits, that’s two per kid, available to parents over the next week,” Scott promised.  

Read more in Wednesday's Newport Daily Express...

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