In the News
What COVID Hospitalization Numbers Are Missing
The Atlantic

For weeks now, as COVID-19 cases have ticked upward in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, pundits and political leaders have offered a supposedly reassuring refrain: Cases might be climbing, but hospitalizations aren’t yet following suit. In some places, that has been true. Several health-care workers around the country told me they’re seeing the lowest caseloads since last summer. A few aren’t having to treat COVID patients at all. Others are only seeing mildly sick people who need little more than IV fluids. “I don’t think there’s a huge amount of anxiety over what the next month might bring,” Debra Poutsiaka, an infectious-disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center, told me. “I could be wrong. I hope not.”

The Biden administration shares those hopes: Having apparently given up on curtailing the coronavirus, it is counting on vaccines and treatments decoupling infection from severe illness enough to prevent the health-care system from becoming inundated again. The CDC’s current guidelines effectively say that Americans can act as if COVID is not a crisis—until hospitalizations reach a high enough threshold.
VDH: COVID case rate remains high in new Surveillance Report
Vermont Business Magazine

The COVID-19 Surveillance Report(link is external) focuses on the data and indicators most useful to help monitor and determine risk of COVID-19 in Vermont. It will be updated every Wednesday, summarized below. These weekly reports will replace the daily COVID-19 Case Dashboard. The final dashboard update was on May 18.

COVID-19 data sets will still be accessible through the Vermont Open Geodata Portal(link is external), including case counts, hospitalizations, deaths, PCR testing and more, also updated on Wednesdays. 

 May 18
  • Report Timeframe: May 8 to May 15, 2022
  • Statewide community levels: High. The daily rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 is above 200.
  • New COVID-19 admissions are above 10 per 100,000 per day, and the percent of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 is below 10%.
  • New daily COVID-19 cases, last 7 days: 371.00 per 100K
  • New daily COVID-19 admissions, last 7 days: 11.22 per 100K
  • Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average): 5.27%
State’s 2nd-largest hospital reopens Covid unit amid increase in hospitalizations

Vermont’s second-largest hospital reopened its coronavirus unit late last week to accommodate a growing number of Covid-19 patients. The unit is already full, a Rutland Regional Medical Center official said Tuesday. 

“Covid is still very much in our community,” Dr. Rick Hildebrant, the hospital’s chief medical information officer, said in a press release. “We remain nimble and prepared to meet the needs of our community as Covid ebbs and flows during the pandemic.”

The increase in Covid hospitalizations comes days after the Scott administration announced it was rolling back its daily Covid reports into one weekly summary, ending day-by-day reports on case counts.

The new report would track Covid hospital admissions, but it won’t disclose daily hospitalizations and ICU data. 
Ransomware Attacks on Hospitals Put Patients at Risk

A University of Vermont Medical Center employee accidentally opened an emailed file from her homeowners association, which had been hacked, in October 2020.

That one mistake eventually led to the University of Vermont Health Network, which includes the state’s largest hospital in Burlington, having to cancel surgeries, put off mammogram appointments and delay some cancer patients’ treatments.

The ensuing ransomware attack had forced officials to shut down all internet connections, including access to patients’ electronic health records, to prevent cybercriminals from doing any more damage.

“Everything was down. So our phones were down. We no longer had fax machines. … You couldn’t use email to communicate,” Dr. Stephen Leffler, the system’s president and chief operating officer said of the attack in a recent podcast by the American Hospital Association. “That first evening, we actually sent people over to Best Buy to buy walkie-talkies.”
Two iconic Vermont organizations announce steps to address climate change
Burlington Free Press

Ben & Jerry's claims it will cut the greenhouse gas emissions on 15 dairy farms to half the industry average by 2024. The University of Vermont Medical Center says it will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It was a coincidence that the two major Vermont institutions made their climate change announcements within days of each other.

Ben & Jerry's said in a news release that dairy ingredients account for more than half of the company's greenhouse gas emissions, hence the focus on dairy farms to reduce its carbon footprint.

A pilot project, dubbed Project Mootopia in typical whimsical Ben & Jerry's fashion, has three goals:

  • Manage methane-producing cow burps through a high-quality forage diet, including digestive aids.
  • Lower methane emissions from manure using digesters and separators, reducing the need for commercial fertilizer.
  • Grow more grass and other feed crops to maintain healthy soils, sequester more carbon and improve the use of grassland, thereby raising the percentage of homegrown feed.
Hospitals in the News
From our Hospitals

RRMC Health Talk: RRMC grows its own LNAs 

By Amy Martone
Director of Nursing Excellence at Rutland Regional Medical Center

The American Nurses Association has proclaimed May as National Nurses Month. It is a time to honor the incredible contribution nurses make every day to support the health and well-being of our community. It is also an opportunity to recognize the scope and impact of nursing practice at all levels, from an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) to a Registered Nurse (RN) to a Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA). This Health Talk looks at the importance and role of the LNA, as well as the “Grow Your Own” Program offered at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

If you have ever been a patient at Rutland Regional, it is likely you have been cared for by one of our skilled and compassionate LNAs. The LNA is a vital part of the nursing care team. LNAs play an important role in infection prevention by assisting patients with bathing and hygiene, they help reduce patient falls by answering call bells or sitting with patients who may be confused and support important parts of the nursing assessment by performing tasks such as vital signs, EKGs and finger sticks.
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