SVHC Prepares for COVID-19
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/ Categories: NEWS, 2020, 02

SVHC Prepares for COVID-19

BENNINGTON, VT—February 28, 2019—Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), has implemented preparedness plans to address the potential that the novel corona virus, known as COVID-19, will become widespread in the United States.

“SVMC has a great infection prevention record,” said Marie George, MD, SVMC’s infectious disease specialist, referring to an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group, a nationally recognized patient safety organization. “Our high marks relate in part to excellent, regular infection prevention measures, and we consider good preparation for new threats, like COVID-19, as an important aspect of that.”

Initial preparation began with the reports of the first cases in the United States at the end of January. At that time, SVMC posted signage about the virus at all entrances and began screening patients based on their symptoms and travel history. Work also began to formulate plans in case the virus spread to other countries and the U.S.

SVMC’s ongoing COVID-19 strategy includes prompt and thorough in-person training for every staff member in its 25 patient care areas, regular communication with staff and members of the public, and easily accessible resources. An internal website, which launched this week, provides staff with detailed directions specific to the locations where they work.

The website is available to all local medical practices and includes information on phone triage, health department contacts, and exposure scenarios with protective equipment.  It also includes decision-making aids regarding what actions providers should take, recommending quarantine at home or referring to the Emergency Room, for instance.

“We are always focused on infection prevention,” said SVMC’s Chief Medical Officer Trey Dobson, MD. “The training and resources we’ve assembled provide specific guidance for this particular virus. Our goal is to ensure that staff feel confident to address the needs of any patient they encounter.”

“Once our staff is ready, our patients are very important partners in reducing the spread of illness,” said Dr. George. “As the need arises, we will be communicating to keep patients and members of the public informed on what they should do.”

She encourages members of the public to get a flu vaccination, if they have not already. As always, regular hand washing, staying home when ill, and avoiding others who are sick will help decrease all contagious illnesses.

“With our advanced preparation and the help of conscientious community members to limit the spread of infections,” said Adam Cohen, MD, director of the Emergency Department at SVMC, “we expect that—should cases reach us here—we will be able to manage and minimize the impact.”  

For up-to-the-minute information about COVID-19, visit cdc.gov or https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus.

About:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices. For more information, visit svhealthcare.org.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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