In the News
Hospitals Treating Record Number of COVID Patients
Seven Days

Vermont hospitals were caring for 84 COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, 20 of whom were in intensive care — both record high figures.

The spike is putting renewed pressure on ongoing efforts to preserve hospital capacity, which state officials have said is a top priority as they shift toward managing COVID-19 as an endemic virus instead of an emergency pandemic. The number of COVID-19 patients overall far exceeds figures at any other point during the pandemic.

Gov. Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine urged all eligible residents to get vaccinated or to get a booster shot and to wear masks indoors. More than two-thirds of people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week were not vaccinated, according to state data. Eighty-three percent of eligible Vermonters are vaccinated.

Why Vermont's COVID surge isn't surprising

Ken Jarecki remembers it was a Monday when he started feeling crappy. This was back in September, when breakthrough COVID cases weren’t that common, especially in Vermont.

Jarecki is from Pittsfield. He’s vaccinated — he got two shots back in March — and he’s careful about COVID. He always wears a mask at work or going to the post office.

The week before he got sick, he went to a birthday party at a restaurant with a group of friends. Everyone was vaccinated.

“At the end of dinner, there was a couple sitting at the other side that I had never met,” he said. “I had a face-to-face conversation with one of them. And I never thought anything. I went home.”
Vermont reports record Covid-19 hospitalizations, strained ICU capacity

Vermont leaders are asking the federal government for help as three of the state’s largest hospitals are running out of intensive care beds.

The state on Tuesday reported 84 Covid-19 hospitalizations, shattering a previous record of almost 70 cases on Nov. 23, and a record high of 22 coronavirus patients in intensive care units, up from a high of 20 patients at the height of last year’s surge.

Medical staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have already been dispatched to hospitals in states with much larger Delta surges, including Colorado and Alabama, but Vermont’s staffing challenges may not be high on the federal agency’s list, said Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services.
UVM Medical Center will increase ICU capacity due to spike in COVID hospitalizations

The University of Vermont Medical Center has decided to increase ICU capacity after a spike in COVID-related hospitalizations, and hospital officials say the move could delay care for non-life-threatening health conditions.

The Vermont Department of Health reported an all-time high of 84 hospitalizations for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

On Monday, Dr. Patrick Bender, chief quality officer at UVM Medical Center, notified staff that the hospital would be converting space in its perioperative department into five new critical beds.

“The fact that it will be in our perioperative space will have implications on the amount of surgeries that we’ll be able to do in our operating room,” Bender told VPR on Tuesday.

Hospitalizations from coronavirus reach record levels in Vt.
Rutland Herald

State officials say hospitalizations from the coronavirus have surpassed the record set in February, with most of those cases concentrated in the southern part of the state.

At Gov. Phil Scott’s regular news conference Tuesday, Michael S. Pieciak, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation who analyzes pandemic data, reported cases of the virus in Vermont decreased 12% during the past seven days and 16% over the past 14 days. But Pieciak noted that decrease is mostly due to decreased testing during the Thanksgiving holiday. Testing decreased 32% during the past seven days.
Citing pandemic pressures, Vermont seeks a 1-year extension for its all-payer model

Vermont leaders say they need more time to rework the state’s health care reform plan.

The state is entering the final year of a five-year agreement with the federal government, enacting what was supposed to be a sweeping shift to value-based care. But health care disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic stymied Vermont’s progress and officials plan to ask for a one-year extension, state officials told the Green Mountain Care Board on Wednesday.

Ena Backus, director of health care reform, stressed during the virtual meeting that the state would use the year to negotiate a five- or six-year agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
COVID Surge Forces UVM Medical Center to Postpone Hundreds of Surgeries
Seven Days

The University of Vermont Medical Center will postpone “a couple hundred” nonemergency surgeries in order to cope with surging COVID-19 cases, hospital leaders said Wednesday.

Next week, the state’s largest hospital will stop using seven of its operating rooms to create five more beds for people who need intensive care. The move will prepare UVM Medical Center to accommodate a swell of COVID-19 patients who are entering Vermont hospitals and intensive-care units at levels never before seen.

The change, to last through the end of the year, comes at the expense of other patients who had surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacements scheduled for December.
Hospitals in the News