It is hard to believe eight months have passed in the COVID-19 global pandemic. Vermont continues to be proactive and vigilant in our approach to reducing transmission of the coronavirus and this has reduced the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community, resulting in lower infection and death rates than other states. As our region anticipates a second wave of infections, we must remain committed to preventive measures, such as masking, social distancing, hand hygiene and self-monitoring for symptoms.

As a community health care organization, Rutland Regional Medical Center has a responsibility to engage in additional proactive approaches to deter community spread of the coronavirus. Our policies and procedures are in place to protect you, the community and our health care workforce. Today, we are seeing an increase of cases throughout the country and in our state. In order to protect our most vulnerable populations and our staff, we have re-implemented enhanced visitor restrictions. This is a tactic that was in place in the early months of the pandemic as we saw increasing cases of COVID-19 and will now resume as a necessary measure to protect our patients and ensure we have a healthy workforce. We will seek to balance the individual needs of each patient with the need to protect our most vulnerable patients, some of whom have a dramatically higher risk of COVID-19-related mortality than any other population.

Caring for your loved one and participating in their care is still a priority. You or your loved one may require an essential support person while at the hospital and our visitor policy supports this process. We have worked hard to ensure there is technology available to support communication with your loved ones through video visits, phone calls or updates from the care team.

The most important actions you can take toward protecting our community are to follow the guidance on masking, social distancing, limiting travel, hand hygiene and good self-monitoring. It will take all of us coming together as a community to protect each other. We need your help in ensuring our community stays ahead of transmission and keeping us all healthy.

Today’s Health Talk was written by Betsy Hassan, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPPS, who is the chief nursing officer at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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