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Virus test offered for free Thursday

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Brattleboro Reformer

BRATTLEBORO — The state of Vermont is now offering free testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 to anyone who wants one, even people without symptoms, the Vermont Health Department announced.

One such "pop-up" testing site will be offered Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Brattleboro Union High School, 131 Fairground Road.

No referral from a health care provider is needed, although people are asked to make appointments in advance, the state said in a news release issued late Tuesday. "Health care workers, first responders (EMS, fire, and law enforcement), childcare providers, people returning to Vermont (on or after day 7 of their quarantine), and any other Vermonter without symptoms who wants to be tested are welcome," the release stated.

To register or for more information, go to humanresources.vermont.gov/popups

The clinics are part of the state's efforts to ramp up testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The test will tell you if you have a current infection. It is not a serology/antibody test, which means it will not tell you if you were infected in the past.

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Vermont officials say the state has one of the lowest rates of growth in people infected with the virus and few people are showing symptoms, which means they are not requesting tests.

As of Tuesday, under 930 people in Vermont had tested positive for the virus and 53 people had died. The number of new cases reported daily is usually in the low single digits and there were two days in the last two weeks with no new positive cases of the virus reported.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine has said the state has ample testing supplies, and there is not a lot of demand for testing.

"We know that people who have no symptoms, but are going to develop COVID have at least a 48-hour period where they may be pre-symptomatic and capable of infecting someone," Levine said last week before the decision to offer testing to anyone was announced. "So it would be nice to find them ahead of time."

For most, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older people and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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