Thanking Vermont's Health Care Providers
Orleans County and Stanstead Quebec first responders cheered for healthcare workers at North Country Hospital and healthcare workers did the same back to them last Monday afternoon. Dozens of police cars and firetrucks paraded by the hospital with lights on from every corner of the county as doctors, nurses, technicians and aides watched and clapped. And it wasn't an isolated incident. Community members all over our state are going out of their way (at a respectful distance) to thank health care workers and other heroes providing essential services to Vermonters.

Now, thanks to a program launched by the University of Vermont Health Network and supported by VAHHS, you don't even need to leave your home to offer thanks.

Just go to the #ThanksHealthHeroes portal and select "Share Your Support." An easy tool will guide you through writing a message of support and/or uploading photos or art. If you're homeschooling children right now, this could be a fun project for your "students," who can learn about health care careers and express gratitude through creativity.

If you need inspiration, watch this video created by UVM Health Network that features selfies and video from the front line. Or listen to Governor Phil Scott's statement in support of health care workers.

At VAHHS, we have never been prouder of our health care workers and of the beautiful outpouring of support from Vermont communities for the work they do.
Legislative Update
Federal and state regulatory agencies continue to take measures to help health care providers and others respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read about the latest here.
In the News
Scott extends stay-at-home order to May 15 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott Friday extended his stay-at-home emergency order through May 15. Scott and administration officials shared encouraging news from the latest models that show the state is flattening the curve of the coronavirus at an even faster rate than expected.

Even though the end of the stay-at-home order can't come soon enough for many, Vermonters we spoke to were supportive of the widely anticipated announcement.

"I think it's wonderful because the curve has flattened. And it keeps all of the people who might be at a higher risk safe," said Joe Haller of Williston.

Volunteers sew masks for local hospitals
The Commons

With a nationwide shortage of professional-grade protective face masks, it has fallen to volunteers who are handy with a sewing machine to fill the gap.

Across Windham County, and all over the United States, the needle-and-thread brigade has stepped up to help, as state and national health officials have escalated their call to wear the masks in public.

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital has received hundreds of homemade masks from community members. The hospital has produced a flyer with instructions on how to make cloth masks, covers for N95 respirator masks, and isolation gowns.

Christy Foote-Smith, one of several volunteers sewing face masks for Grace Cottage Hospital, said she tries to choose fabric with “colorful and cheery” patterns.
The health care workers keeping hospitals clean

The news is filled with stories from coronavirus hot zones of doctors and nurses pushed to the max. But hospitals also have employees who don't deliver direct care working just as hard. Meet one of those workers from the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh.

"Well, it's become progressively more busy working in the ER," Josh Wilson said.

Wilson, 34, is not a doctor or a nurse. He's part of an often overlooked and unsung group of health care workers.

"I am a housekeeper and what we do is we work infection control," Wilson explained.

UVM nursing students to graduate early to help during pandemic
Vermont Business Magazine

The University of Vermont has given nursing students the option of early graduation so they can enter the nursing workforce and provide support to overstressed healthcare workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

All 95 members of the class opted to graduate on May 1 rather than in the third week of the month when other students at the university will earn their degrees.

UVM is among the first colleges in the country to allow nurses to graduate early.

Vermont’s State Board of Nursing will offer students temporary permits so they can begin staffing hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the state immediately after they graduate. Nursing school graduates normally begin work in early August, after they’ve taken a licensure exam and become registered nurses.

Typically about half of UVM’s graduating nurses work in Vermont, with the others working at out-of-state healthcare facilities. Most states issue temporary permits to nursing school graduates.

“The timing is what is so important,” said Rosemary Dale, chair of the Department of Nursing in UVM’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Healthcare workers need support as soon as we can provide it. Our students will be able to make a real difference.”

For Some Home Health Nurses, Exposure To Coronavirus Comes With The Job
Vermont Public Radio

Emergency departments and intensive care units across Vermont are preparing for a surge of patients with COVID-19, but the front line of the state’s defense against the new coronavirus extends far beyond the walls of its hospitals.

Nurses, personal care attendants and other employees of Vermont’s 10 home health agencies are fighting the pandemic from the living rooms of the patients they treat.

On Wednesday afternoon, Joe Haller was standing on the sidewalk of a sleepy residential street in Burlington’s Old North End.

Haller, a nurse, works for University of Vermont Health Network Home Health & Hospice. He spends his days traveling to the homes of the 35 or so patients he’s responsible for at any given time.

The patient whose home he stood in front of Wednesday is one of the 628 people in Vermont who have tested positive for COVID-19.