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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

How Vermont's Community Hospitals Are Preparing For Coronavirus

False-color rendering of SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Centers for Disease Control
A CDC computer-generated image of the coronavirus, which now has 60 cases confirmed in 12 states.

The novel coronavirus has now been positively identified in cases in all of Vermont's border regions: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Quebec. And Seven Days reported Tuesday the Vermont Department of Health is testing three patients for the disease known as COVID-19.

Michael Leyden, Emergency Management Director for Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, said there is a "high likelihood" for cases in Vermont. 

"We're at a period, on the cusp, really, of moving from a heightened vigilance and preparedness phase to a more active response phase."

Porter, as one of Vermont's eight small critical access hospitals, represents how the majority of the state's smaller-scale health care providers are preparing to meet the challenges of the virus.

"We use an all-hazards approach," Leyden said. He added the aim is to build resiliency in people, systems and culture. 

"While this particular strain of coronavirus is new to us, a lot of the systems-level response [and] machinery is in place, and is robust," he said.

Vermont health officials have been monitoring potential coronavirus cases in Vermont, including in people who have recently traveled to areas where community spread is ongoing.

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about how Vermont's hospitals are preparing for coronavirus.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020 at noon.

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