Teaming Up for This Next Phase
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/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2020, 11

Teaming Up for This Next Phase

You’ve heard the news reports. Vermont is breaking records every day for the number of new COVID cases. The highest number of cases every 14 days this spring was 400. In the last 14 days, we have seen 894 cases in our state. Hospitalizations related to the pandemic are increasing as well. It seems as if we are heading straight into what will likely be the most difficult part of the pandemic.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) has prepared for this, and we are ready. Since the spring, we have anticipated that the return of colder weather and people’s natural inclination to socialize inside would drive cases upwards. And they have. We spent those months of lower COVID cases gearing up:

  • We set up a virtual waiting room and more negative-pressure spaces, so you could get the care you need safely.
  • We bought new rapid PCR testing equipment, so we could process tests more quickly right here.
  • We set up the computer infrastructure needed to send your results to you automatically in a text message, because the faster you get your results, the sooner you are able to go back to work or isolate.

The only way to make it through this safely is to work together. Healthcare workers in a variety of fields are doing their part. You are doing your part by staying home and practicing all of the mitigation measures.

Teams work best when they communicate regularly and clearly. More communication will be necessary. That’s why you will be hearing more from me as the situation intensifies. And I invite you to share your thoughts and your need for information with me. E-mail wellness@svhealthcare.org to let me know what’s on your mind.

The next phase of this pandemic—when vaccinations will provide protection—is just around the corner. And we are preparing for that, too. SVHC has several deep freezers needed to store the vaccine, and we are working in cooperation with the state to organize vaccination clinics, similar to our flu vaccine clinics.

Thank you, again, for continuing to follow precautions—including limiting gatherings, wearing masks, distancing, and handwashing—while we gain herd immunity through vaccination. Doing so is a show of support for your local healthcare workers and those on the frontlines, including teachers, police, firefighters, EMS, grocery store clerks… The list goes on and on. We all really appreciate your efforts.

Trey Dobson, MD, is the chief medical officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. 

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