Another 35 patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, were identified by the Vermont Department of Health on Thursday.

Vermont has identified nine deaths caused by COVID-19. There was one more reported in the past day.

The total number of positive COVID-19 tests for Vermont on Thursday was 158, out of 2,008 tests. The number of cases reported Wednesday was 123.

Also on Thursday, the health department urged caution on using certain drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19.

“At this time, the U.S. Drug Administration has not approved any drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19,” the release stated.

Anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, among others, have been widely discussed as potential treatments. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has said there is not enough data.

“In fact, there are significant potential risks to taking such drugs, including death,” the release stated.

Most people who get COVID-19 can manage their symptoms at home with rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medication, according to the health department.

Patients should talk to a health care provider before taking any substance alleged to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Health care providers were asked not to prescribe these drugs unless they’re for patients with diagnosed conditions, and not for prevention, to help maintain the supply for Vermonters who need them.

On Thursday, the Health Department website added several new sections.

One, “Ask a Question,” allows visitors to type questions about COVID-19 in Vermont into a box. The question will be answered with the currently available information, according to the health department’s daily update.

Another new page was added to meet the specific needs of health care providers. It includes current guidance, health alerts and resources for protecting patients and health care workers in different settings.

The third new set of set of pages include fact sheets with COVID-19 information for health care workers, in addition to Vermonters who are awaiting test results for COVID-19, diagnosed with COVID-19 or a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

patrick.mcardle@rutlandherald.com

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