© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

University Of Vermont Medical Center Officials Discuss COVID-19 Case

UVM Medical Center main entrance
Pat Bradley/WAMC
UVM Medical Center main entrance (file)

Less than one week after the Vermont Department of Health announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state, officials at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington confirmed the hospital is treating a second Vermonter for the illness.
Officials from Vermont’s largest hospital held a press briefing Thursday outside the main entrance because they are “tightening up” access to the facility in order to keep patients and staff as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.  President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Leffler said the COVID-19 patient was admitted on Tuesday.  “The patient had called his primary care doc;  followed our current procedure of calling infectious disease who agreed the patient should come to the ED (Emergency Department). He was brought in by ambulance. The ambulance crew followed all procedures to keep themselves safe. The patient was seen in our ED and determined they needed admission to the hospital. The patient was appropriately admitted to the hospital in isolation. And late yesterday afternoon the test came back from the state of Vermont. The patient is a presumed positive. All testing that's presumed positive goes on to the CDC.”

Federal law restricts the hospital’s ability to reveal specific information about the patient. Dr. Leffler says the state health department is investigating his recent movements.  “We are allowed to tell you the person is a Chittenden County resident and they're in their 70s. We really can't tell you much more. But you should know the Department of Health is doing an extensive trace right now everywhere they've been and to the extent possible the potential exposures to others.”

The facility is one of six hospitals in Vermont and northern New York in the UVM Health Network.
UVM Health Network CEO Dr. John Brumsted:  “We're working directly with the Departments of Health in both New York and in Vermont. And we're closely following the CDC guidelines for all aspects of our response to this pandemic.”

The availability of test kits has been a concern nationally but Infectious Disease Dr. Tim Lahey says access is improving.  “More and more tests are being done and the people who need to be tested can get tested now. And we are making plans to make it possible to have testing done entirely outside of our healthcare facilities.”

Chittenden County is Vermont’s most populous area and hospital officials including Dr. Leffler urged people to follow CDC recommendations to wash hands, practice social distancing and limit meeting sizes.  “Right now today we have adequate capacity to care for everyone who needs our services. We have special rooms set aside for COVID-19 patients in our intensive care units and on the floor. We know that very sick people with COVID are ending up in the hospital but 80% of people get mild illness. So knowing where one very sick person traveled isn't actually that helpful. You should assume when you're going out and about in public right now that you could be being exposed and you should take all appropriate precautions, because it's out there.”

The patient is in isolation in the intensive care unit.   


Related Content