Vermont health official: State’s residents have ‘prioritized health’

Vermont’s Director of Public Health Dr. Mark Levine discusses the state’s vaccine distribution, and how the state has kept cases from surging.
5:44 | 12/22/20

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Transcript for Vermont health official: State’s residents have ‘prioritized health’
Many states across the country have been battling a secondary and third wave of cases but one has remained a bit of an island in a sea of despair. Vermont only trails Hawaii with the least number of average daily cases over the past week according to the CDC. And joining us now is Vermont's public health director doctor Mark Levine doctor Levine thank you so much for spending your night with us. Having him. Last week Vermont lost its 100 resident to cope in nineteen that's compared to more than 36000. Deaths right here. In neighboring New York of course one death is too many from this disease but how is your state managing to keep the mortality rate down. Well for the longest time we managed to keep the mortality rate down by keeping our caseload down. Through adequate suppression of the virus. Are we came out of that period in the spring grand. We were in what recalls stay home stay safe. Our version of what people call locked down. And are we came I don't in a very phased and gradual. Arms resenting your recent. And we re started remarks essentially Bruce Perry. All of our moves were calibrated we waited or at least one division period between making other moves. As we reopened all the sectors of aren't. The main way we've kept our staff was to keep our car chases in long term care facilities are. And until only recently did that suffered where and the entire region in the entire country. Are of course have suffered more. We're accelerating rate some viral infection. Song. It has managed to creep into some of our long term care facilities. Specifically the skill nursing facilities one of the most vulnerable elderly patients are. And that's where we've seen probably 70%. Of the recent deaths. Vermont has begun vaccinated it's Frontline workers how does not process been so far and what is your roll out plan for the rest of the citizens of your state. Yes all the rollout plan is going smoothly by and we were barely one week into it. We are the second least populated state in the country. So our vaccine allocation match to match so we haven't had huge doses of vaccine unfortunately. But our priority group one Andy. Much like the rest of them Odeon nation has centered around health care workforce. And all of these long term care facilities. Residents and work force. So I hope today. Is the first day event that. Latter segment long term care residents are being vaccinated. Through muted federal pharmacy partnership that's been asked problems. What several pharmacies. Arm and this is arms hold one of the earliest launches. Around the country. The federal pharmacy program. So we're very excited that it's starting today. But obviously the faster the better because this is the most vulnerable population. We've reported recently on how Vermont has been experiencing a bit of an economic boom attracting people from across the country to move to your state. How do you balance the economic interests of the state with the need to preserve public health. From our governor would love your use of the term boom. And I will accept that. We do you know somewhat anecdotally but also through some data that. Some people actually have chosen hello to the states. Which is wonderful. I'm. The public health impact of that we hope it's not large because. The fact is we wanted to vanished reduce trouble policies and the country. What's significant rules about quarantined when one comes in from onstage. Just like Ferraro Vermont residents who may choose who. Read this need in combat. After a visit. They have to adhere to a groundswell. And finally it's been at very long year plenty of sleepless nights for so many of us what keeps you up at night what's your biggest concern overall and also what gives you hope. Well it turns keeping me up at night. Home does not so many things you can add to list right now. Always tracking and you know. New cases of virus hoping that words. Marie are now which is kind of an class Tarlow where we're not actually increasing numbers of trees. From worrying about deployment of this vaccine. Making sure rehab. Optimal testing we're region grew in this that he. All things that are concerned. I'm brought I have a lot of hope actually. The reason our hope is are you opened the interview talking about and good track record Vermont. I can't take all the credit for that. Nor can the governor and our extensive team. I will take some of the credit cards you but the reality is we look at this word of the population art art art. Sort kind of asking harbor martyrs now you know give us a few more months. You've done so well. Oates succumbed to pandemic fifty. And really follow these dual path ways of continuing off mitigation strategies you party at your soup and increasing and vaccine. The reason we are. Why not that optimistic note doctor Mark Levine wishing you the very best in the new year. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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