In the News
COVID spike triggers concern over Vermont hospital capacity
WCAX

A day after Vermont set a single-day COVID case record, Friday’s number of 377 was high enough for runner-up status. Because case counts are leading indicators of both hospitalization rates and deaths, state officials say they are closely monitoring the two-day trend.

Data shows up to 80% of Vermont’s hospitalizations are among the 53,000 eligible unvaccinated Vermonters. “We’ve seen the unvaccinated positives really increase, whereas the vaccinated has really stayed steady,” said AHS Secretary Mike Smith.

Part of the reason for the higher case counts is more people are getting tested. This week saw near-record levels of tests conducted. Vermont is leading the nation in tests per capita, surpassing the second-highest state by 20%. But Governor Phil Scott says if cases stay this high, we could see hospitalizations top 80.
Officials worry record case count could strain Vermont’s hospital system
My Champlain Valley

On Thursday, Vermont reported 487 COVID-19 cases, marking a single-day record for the state. Six more deaths were reported, and 55 people were hospitalized, including 19 in intensive care.

With six of Vermont’s 14 counties reporting 40 or more cases, Gov. Phil Scott and other state officials are worried hospitalizations could continue to rise.

“If we stayed at this level of cases, based on our current hospitalization rate, there is potential to see the number of people currently hospitalized increase to over 80, which would be a significant strain on the system,”

Michael Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said one year ago, the state saw a similar rise in cases. “You know, we’re only a few days out from Halloween and we’re already seeing our cases start to increase again,” he said.
Blood supply shortage continues as holidays approach
Waterbury Roundabout

As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, the American Red Cross urges donors to continue to make and keep appointments to help overcome the ongoing emergency blood and platelet shortage that may be the most severe for this time of year in more than a decade.

Since declaring an emergency need for donors last month, thousands of people have come to Red Cross blood drives across the country to roll up a sleeve and help patients in need of lifesaving transfusions. But hospital demand remains strong and at least 10,000 more donations are needed each week going into the holiday season when donations typically taper off.

Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Scheduling appointments makes the process go smoothest.
Vermont health consultant’s findings strike concern
Valley News

Hospital officials are criticizing a Green Mountain Care Board consultant’s findings that there are too many beds at some Upper Valley hospitals, especially given the ongoing bed crunch driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and a workforce shortage.

“The … study suggests an overall reduction in beds and right now, even just the notion of less hospital capacity will frighten our communities, harm our missions and have a potentially chilling effect on provider-led health care reform,” said Jeff Tieman, CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. He called the suggestions in the study, which were released last week, “irresponsible and reckless.”

But Susan Barrett, the Green Mountain Care Board’s executive director, said that the consultant’s ideas are simply intended to begin a longer conversation about how to shore up the state’s hospitals and control costs for the future.
UVMMC marks progress toward improving access to acute inpatient and outpatient care
Vermont Business Magazine

As part of continuing work to meet unprecedented need and improve the community’s access to acute and emergency care, the University of Vermont Medical Center this week opened a space that will allow up to 8 extended recovery outpatient beds for patients recovering from surgery, and an additional 12 inpatient beds in existing space.

This work is one component of the UVM Health Network’s Access Action Plan, which addresses three goals: reducing wait times for specialty care, hiring successfully amid national staffing shortages, and improving hospital inpatient and emergency capacity.

A collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine has enabled the opening of up to 8 extended recovery outpatient beds in a space typically used for clinical research.
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