Dr. Mark Levine, 8-14-2020

Vermont health commissioner Dr. Mark Levine updates reporters on COVID-19-related activity in Vermont during an Aug. 14 press conference.

MONTPELIER — There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 on an orchard in Addison County.

Twenty-six workers at Champlain Orchards have tested positive. One has been hospitalized.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Monday afternoon that the outbreak has been confined to the farm and the general public is not at risk.

The outbreak occurred amongst Jamaican workers who arrived at the farm on Sept. 14 under the H2A visa program. The 55 workers flew into JFK International Airport together, were driven together on a chartered bus to the orchards, and were in quarantine together.

The workers were nearing the end of the 14-day quarantine when symptoms began to appear.

Most of those infected remain asymptomatic.

Levine said 101 tests were administered. Those who tested negative will continue to be tested and are currently in quarantine. 

Those who tested positive have also been housed together, and the health department is working with others to make certain the farmworkers have what they need to quarantine safely, Levine said.

State epidemiologist Dr. Patsy Kelso reported that contact tracing has been completed for those who tested positive.

“We feel really good about understanding how transmission may have happened and who might have been exposed," Kelso said.

As a result of the contact tracing, health officials were confident there was no risk to members of the public who may have visited the farm either to pick apples or make a purchase at the farm stand.

Levine thanked the farm owners for their cooperation.

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