In this Nov. 3, 2020, file photo, Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters in his hometown of Berlin, Vermont. Credit: Wilson Ring / AP

It’s too soon to know the impacts of Thanksgiving gatherings on the spread of the coronavirus in Vermont but Gov. Phil Scott said Monday that, based on initial data, he was feeling “cautiously optimistic.”

Data show that over the past two weeks Vermonters have decreased their movement, spending more time at home and commuting less often to work, which reduces the chances of spreading the virus, said Michael Pieciak, the Vermont commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, who has been monitoring the statistics during the pandemic.

While the weekly regional cases have increased for the 14th consecutive week, the rate of new case growth has slowed, he said.

“These sacrifices have resulted in not only a slowing of cases here in Vermont but, in fact, decreasing from a seven-day high of 105 to 70 cases today,” Pieciak said at the governor’s twice-weekly virus briefing. A surge of cases in Washington County also seems to have calmed down and it’s no longer one of counties with the highest active case count in the region, he said.

But he and the governor urged Vermonters to stay vigilant with significant risk around Vermont and more active cases in the state than ever before.

“We have tough days and months ahead and we are not out of the woods yet but we are at a point where we can see that light more clearly than we have throughout the pandemic,” Scott said.

“And we have to keep focused on it so we can get through this dark tunnel as strong as possible. We can’t give up when we’re finally seeing a way out,” he said, referring to vaccines.

The governor’s ban on multi-household gatherings remains in effect.

Story by Lisa Rathke.