In the News
Vermont now ranks 5th-highest in nation for Covid case rate
VTDigger

Five days after a record-setting one-day total of nearly 600 Covid-19 cases, Vermont’s case rate is now among the highest in the nation.

The state Department of Health reported 222 cases Monday, which may appear low compared to the seven-day average of 357 cases per day. But Mondays tend to have lower case totals because of lower testing numbers. For this Monday, only 3,500 tests were reported, and the seven-day test positivity rate remains elevated at 4.3%.

With that recent average of 357 cases per day, or 57 per 100,000 people, Vermont is now the fifth-highest in the nation for its Covid case rate, according to New York Times.

Berlin hospital revives plans for inpatient psychiatric unit
VTDigger

More than a year and a half after the University of Vermont Health Network put on hold its plans for a new inpatient psychiatric unit in Berlin, officials now say they anticipate the 40-bed facility to open in fall 2025.

“This is a very necessary project,” UVM Health Network CEO John Brumsted said at a press conference Tuesday. “We have a vulnerable population out there that needs this facility. And we will do everything we can to get this project in the hands of regulators and then construct it.”

The unit is slated to be housed in a separate building on the Berlin campus. The construction would have space for 25 new psychiatric beds, in addition to the hospital’s existing 15, UVM Health Network leaders said in their quarterly report to the Green Mountain Care Board this week.
Officials urge COVID precautions ahead of Thanksgiving
WCAX

Vermont COVID case counts are expected to stay high over the coming month and state officials are urging Vermonters to take precautions to prevent further spread over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The latest forecast modeling indicates case counts are not expected to decrease over the next month and that the impact of Thanksgiving brings further uncertainty. Governor Phil Scott again urged Vermonters to get vaccinated and get booster shots to help prevent hospital counts from increasing further. He also urged those visiting vulnerable family members to make sure they get tested beforehand.

“The data speaks for itself. About three-quarters of our hospitalizations and about 70% of our cases are unvaccinated. So, the best way to protect yourself and your family is still to get vaccinated,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott Tuesday.
Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Vermont join other states in broadening access to boosters for all adults
New York Times

Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Vermont on Wednesday joined several states across the United States in expanding access to coronavirus vaccine boosters for all adults. That comes as federal regulators consider granting requests for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters to be authorized for all adults as early as this week, according to people familiar with the planning.

State leaders have used various justifications for choosing not to wait for federal decisions on boosters, ranging from concerns about holiday season gatherings and winter temperatures pushing people indoors to rising cases and confusion among residents about eligibility. Federal regulators say boosters are available for adults who meet their eligibility categories and are at least six months past their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or are two months past receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination.
OneCare Vermont announces new managers, Brumsted will step down as chair
Vermont Business Magazine

OneCare Vermont is Vermont’s local, 501(c)(3) accountable care organization (ACO) that partners with health care providers to transform the state’s healthcare system. OneCare maintains a governance board that includes managers from throughout the state that represent the full continuum of care and consumers. The board recently endorsed and approved changes to the membership roster in alignment with the recent governance change announcement. John Brumsted, MD will step down as chair of OneCare board of managers in January 2022.

“OneCare is well served by the breadth of experience our board brings to some of the most pressing issues in health care reform,” said Vicki Loner, RN.C, MHCDS, OneCare CEO. Loner continued, “The board is committed to working toward improved health and well-being of Vermonters and Vermont’s communities.”
Holiday COVID-19 transmissions likely to determine Vermont's ICU capacity this winter
VTDigger

The number of coronavirus cases that result from holiday gatherings will be a deciding factor in Vermont hospitals’ capacity in intensive care units ahead of peak flu season, according to state officials.

“We’re in a very concerning moment, and our hospitals are already stressed and strained as they have been for months,” said Jeff Tieman, president and CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

Vermont’s ICUs are operating at 85% to 90% capacity, up from 70% to 80% in the late spring and summer, according to state officials and Department of Financial Regulation data.
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