CEO Coronavirus Update – April 7, 2020

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We are working hard and diligently to stop the spread of COVID-19, while continuing to provide high-quality medical care and to protect the safety of our community, including patients, their families, and our employees.

As the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases nationally has reached 331,000, it has been shown that coronavirus may be transmitted before an individual knows that they are infected. The CDC has begun recommending cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. For information on how to make masks at home, visit

Although many hospitals are facing shortages of staff and equipment, I’m pleased to tell you that Grace Cottage Hospital is able to supply our employees with medical-grade facemasks for all clinical visits. Many area community members have painstakingly sewn hundreds of homemade masks, which we are distributing to non-clinical staff and patients.

The following changes have taken place at Grace Cottage since my last e-mail to you last Tuesday:

  • The Vermont Department of Health has, unfortunately, suspended drive-up COVID-19 testing in Putney. We have, therefore, resumed drive-up testing at Grace Cottage by appointment only. Be aware that, due to a continued limitation on tests, the state requires us to test only those with symptoms. If you are ill, call your health care provider to find out if you should be seen for an evaluation and considered for testing. Testing is not treatment, and not everyone will need to be tested.
  • Governor Phil Scott has discouraged travel to Vermont. Residents and non-residents coming into Vermont should quarantine at home for 14 days.
  • It’s important for children to continue to have their regular immunization schedule maintained throughout this pandemic. We can safely administer vaccines at Grace Cottage. Call 802-365-4331 to make an appointment for your child.
  • Grace Cottage has tested over 60 patients for the virus here at our campus. Only four of these individuals have tested positive. We sent 57 patients to Putney to be tested last week when the National Guard had that site open, and 13 of those tested positive. These numbers are relatively small at the moment, which makes us optimistic. Let’s keep it that way by staying home if you can, following safe practices of social distancing when you need to, and washing your hands frequently.
  • Unlike many healthcare organizations nationwide, we have not laid off or furloughed employees, despite a sharp decrease in revenues due to the Stay Safe. Stay Home order. We understand our role as a major employer in this community and know that many families depend on us for income. The generous donations we’ve received from many community members help to ensure that Grace Cottage survives this pandemic. Please consider a gift to our COVID-19 Fund, which may be made by clicking here.

Our community has always been and will continue to be resilient and dedicated to caring for one another with compassion, bravery, and competence. From first responders, medical providers, nurses, food service workers, and housekeepers, to grocery store employees, delivery drivers, police, and many other front-line workers, we are proving every day that we are stronger together.

“We are enduring the biggest global crisis since World War II,” says Grace Cottage’s Chief Medical Officer, George Terwilliger, MD (pictured right). “While we await increased medical supplies, better treatments, and a vaccine, we are not powerless against the virus. The most vital action is pretty simple and something you can do: practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. We are here at Grace Cottage for you; please stay home for us.”

Thank you for being part of the Grace Cottage community. We’ve had a lot of silver linings, and we want to thank the person, whoever you are, who drove back and forth in front of Grace Cottage last Friday with their windows open, playing Amazing Grace very loudly on their car’s audio system. We’ve received many other kindnesses from our community, including a Thank You sign pitched near our entrance, many lovingly-crafted masks, face shields, and gowns; and generous charitable donations from members of our Grace Cottage “family”. We are deeply touched and grateful for your support.

Together we can face any challenge, and we will get through this together. We will stand with you. Now more than ever, this is a time to help each other, treat each other with kindness, and try to focus on what good we can do. Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital remains dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our patients, our community, and our staff. We know this is a challenging time and we are all feeling the effects of the pandemic, but we will be with you through it all. Stay home, stay healthy and stay safe, as many of our employees pictured here are encouraging you to do.

But if you need us, rest assured – Grace Cottage is here for you.
Doug DiVello
President & CEO
Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital