I can report today that the Vermont State Employee’s Credit Union is not laboring under the belief it can’t ask its employees if they are vaccinated.

Simeon Chapin, VSECU’s “community impact officer,” got in touch to correct what I was told when I called the credit union’s switchboard looking for somebody to talk to me about the COVID exposures that led to the closure of their Rutland branch.

“We’re not asking,” Chapin said. “We encourage people to get a vaccination, but we’re not stigmatizing people who are not.”

Despite a lot of erroneous claims about what the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — or HIPAA — says, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said laws do not prevent employers from asking if their employees are vaccinated. The Vermont Department of Labor stated in an email Thursday there were no state-level restrictions, either.

Simeon said the branch is expected to reopen on Monday.

Thinking about numbers

As cases start to creep back up and the CDC starts asking us to wear masks again, I’m once again hearing that we shouldn’t really worry about COVID because of its 99% survival rate.

“I wonder ...” I thought to myself before sitting down for some googling.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunken driving incidents kill about 10,000 people in he U.S. every year. The same agency puts annual DUI arrests at 1.5 million nationwide. I would think we can all agree that more people are doing it than are getting arrested for it, but I’m not sure I’d trust any estimate of just how big that gap is.

Even if we assume everyone who drives drunk gets caught, that means drunken driving “only” kills somebody once out of every 150 times, as opposed to COVID killing people one time in 100.

Calendar

The Board of Aldermen meets at 7 p.m. Monday. The agenda includes the confirmation vote on James Rotondo’s nomination as the new public works commissioner and additional permitting for the “Parade of Heroes.”

Thursday, the Community and Economic Development Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the potential for a TIF district in the city.

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com

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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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