Surge in Covid-19 cases in Addison County linked to apple orchard workers

Two Shoreham orchards — Douglas , shown here, and Champlain — were closed last weekend after a worker had tested positive for Covid-19. Photo by Clare Cuddy

A surge of new Covid-19 cases in Addison County is being linked to an outbreak among foreign workers at a Shoreham apple orchard. 

Champlain Orchards staff reported the first positive case by an apple harvester on Saturday, according to Ben Rule, the sales manager at the orchard. The worker was on an H-2A temporary work visa.

Staff immediately contacted the Department of Health, and closed the 60-acre orchard, according to Rule. All workers were tested Saturday, then again on Monday, he said. A third round of testing is planned for Friday.

Vermont Public Radio spoke with Bill Suhr, the orchard owner, Monday afternoon. He confirmed that 26 seasonal workers from Jamaica had tested positive for the virus. Suhr could not be immediately reached Monday. WCAX reported on the first case at the Shoreham orchard on Saturday. 

Vermont’s Department of Health announced a surge of 33 new cases in Addison County. As a precaution, owner Suhr also closed Douglas Orchards, his second Shoreham orchard.

Town Clerk Julie Ortuno said the town was waiting for updates on the latest results before deciding whether to take any measures. 

The Department of Health is holding a 3:30 p.m. press briefing on the Addison County cases. 

This article will be updated

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