In the News
American Red Cross calls on Type O donors to meet
demand for blood
Local 22

Hospitals in Vermont and around the country are experiencing a severe shortage of blood.

The American Red Cross is encouraging donors of all blood types to step up, especially if you have Type O. Known as the “universal blood type,” Type O is most in demand as it can be given safely to anyone. But as people make summer plans, donations are down and the Red Cross is asking for help. 

“At the Red Cross, we like to have a five-day supply on hand of all blood types, and in recent weeks we’ve been operating with a half-day supply of Type O,” said Jennifer Costa, Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross of Northern New England.

The Decatur family all have Type O blood and they plan to roll up their sleeves this week. Jacob Decatur is a regular at the Red Cross and has donated a total of 16 units, or two gallons, of Type O. 
National Guard takes down Vermont's last surge hospital

Walls of the last surge hospital site in the state are coming down. It’s a sign of success in the state’s fight against the pandemic.

“Once we saw hospitalizations drop significantly for a sustained period and the number of patients requiring number of ICU treatment, that we would make the recommendation to break it down,” said Christopher Herrick of Vermont Public Safety.

The surge hospital had a capacity of up to 400 patients and was built by guard members in April 2020. It was taken down that summer but was rebuilt last November when COVID-19 cases began to surge in the state.

"It was a thing of beauty watching people just sacrifice and work knowing that themselves, their family members, or their friends may actually have to come here and be hospitalized for some reason,” said Major Mathew Lehman.
Vermont stays vigilant on vaccination front
Bennington Banner

State officials celebrated hitting their desired goal of vaccinating 80 percent of eligible Vermonters with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine last week, but they’re not giving up on their push to get shots into as many arms as possible.

“Every shot we administer this week is just as important as the ones we did last week,” Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “Every vaccination counts and is a step in the right direction.”

As of Tuesday morning, about 81.3 percent of eligible Vermonters had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Remaining restrictions related to the virus were lifted by the governor last Monday after hitting 80 percent.

Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, said walk-in appointments for vaccinations are being offered at most pharmacies now. He listed a number of vaccination pop-up clinics this week including sites at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center ExpressCare in Bennington.

10 years after it was created, has the Green Mountain Care Board worked?

On Sept. 23, University of Vermont Health Network CEO John Brumsted had a few words for his regulators: The Green Mountain Care Board had “become untethered” from the “principles that should guide it,” he fumed in a letter asking for an amended budget. It has made decisions that “will harm Vermont’s patients and hospitals.”

Brumsted’s missive marked an unusually combative stance. Regulated hospitals are loath to publicly rebuke the five-member board that sets their rates.

But Brumsted, who oversees half of Vermont’s health care system, wasn’t alone in his rebuke. CEOs from the state’s smaller hospitals criticized the board for requiring sustainability plans that may ultimately require them to cut unprofitable services. 

Delta variant coming on strong
The Rutland Herald

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been found in Vermont, but doctors reminded residents on Thursday that vaccination remains a very effective protections against the virus.

Dr. Rick Hildebrant, chief medical information officer and medical director of hospital medicine for Rutland Regional Medical Center, said vaccinations that have been available for months are “incredibly effective against the Delta variant.”

“If people are vaccinated, they’re very protected. If they’re unvaccinated, though, they’re at a much higher risk than they were, just a few months ago against COVID because this is just so contagious, it causes people to get sicker and some of the treatments we use for COVID are not as effective,” he said.

Dr. Mark Levine, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, said the state is doing whole genome sequencing in its own laboratories now and used it to determine that the Delta variant had been found in Chittenden County, from a returning international traveler and in Central Vermont from a domestic traveler. The origin of the third case was unclear.
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