By Phil Dodd
Northfield registered 49 new COVID-19 cases in the week that ended Jan. 27, according to data released by the Vermont Health Department on Jan. 29. Northfield is home to Norwich University, which has had a total of 84 positive tests since students returned to campus earlier this month, according to the University’s website.
Northfield’s count of new cases for the week was the highest in Washington County, followed by Barre City (32), Montpelier (12), Waitsfield (8), Waterbury (5), Barre Town (4), Plainfield (1), and Warren (1).
Six Washington County towns on the state’s list registered no new cases during the week that ended Jan. 27: Berlin, Cabot, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, and Middlesex. To be added to the state’s list of cities and towns with case counts reported, a municipality must have more than five cases. One Washington County town — Worcester — was just added to this list when it reached six cases last week.
Norwich tested all students when they returned, which turned up some of the cases, but other cases developed when students engaged in risky behaviors. Norwich President Col. Mark Anarumo said Wednesday evening in a video posted on the school’s website that Norwich had “some significant, egregious, and frankly embarrassing incidents of student misconduct that have resulted in the spread of the virus on campus and our inability to contain it.”
Some students have been sent home because of their failure to comply with the school rules, according to news reports. Students remaining on campus are being required to comply with a “modified room quarantine,” and all students are being given the option to return home and either continue taking courses online or withdraw from the university and receive a pro-rated refund, Anarumo said in the video.
Since the state began keeping track of COVID-19 cases on March 5, the highest totals in Washington County have been in Barre City (439), Northfield (180), Montpelier (121), Barre Town (49), Plainfield (37), and Waitsfield (36). The highest count to date in Orange County is in Williamstown, with 109 cases, followed by Randolph with 74 cases.