The outbreak of COVID-19 is forcing us to change how we work, shop, communicate and educate. The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Vermont Department of Health are very clear: the best insurance against spreading this disease is staying home and limiting social interactions as much as possible.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott telegraphed the seriousness of this crisis, and the need to stop the spread, by declaring a state of emergency and following it up with school closures, as well as event and restaurant restrictions. We, at Rutland Regional Medical Center, are asking our community to take the next step by canceling all non-emergency appointments. These include routine dental visits, hair stylist appointments, massages, health club visits and other routine public activities that would have seemed normal just days ago.

We are in for some tough days for our community and our nation, and hospitals are on the front lines. You can help Rutland Regional and your community by strict adherence to these social isolation principles.

Please know that, for your safety, we are closing down all non-essential entrances and we are in the process of rescheduling all non-essential appointments. Don’t worry, our doctors, nurses and clinicians will make sure we are available to take care of your critical health needs and emergencies. However, for anything that is not immediately critical, we are asking you to help us by staying home.

We understand this is a lot to ask, but these changes are necessary. With your help, we can “flatten the curve” of this disease and therefore, help us maintain a manageable level of patients and keep our hospital and hospital staff from being overwhelmed.

Our country has survived world wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, economic recessions and we remain standing. If we all stay calm, stay home and stay informed, we will get through this crisis together.

For more information about COVID-19, visit or Rutland Regional has also set up a COVID-19 hotline 802-786-4299.

Claudio Fort is Rutland Regional Medical Center president and CEO.

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