Our community has embraced Grace Cottage in so very many ways during this challenging time that it’s impossible to try to list them all here, and we want to thank every individual and organization that went so far above and beyond to help. I must say, though, that a flyover by the Vermont Air National Guard on the Friday before Memorial Day was as awe-inspiring as the April 22nd drive-by tribute parade conducted by area fire departments, Vermont State Police, the Windham County Sheriff’s office, and Rescue, Inc.
Vermont has reported a total of 988 cases of Covid-19, and 55 deaths, with no current hospitalizations in the entire state due to the virus (16 hospital patients are currently under investigation). The Covid-19 news from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, where numbers have plunged in recent days, is encouraging. However, it is extremely clear that there are many unknowns about what this virus will do in the coming months. I cringe when I see some of the media coverage of people in large crowds without masks, whether recreating or demonstrating. We will find out the result of this behavior in the coming weeks and months; only time will tell.
Here in Vermont, it is increasingly rare to see someone in a public place without a mask on; that’s the way it should be and, I think, will be for many months to come – it may even become a new norm during our lifetimes. It’s not yet second nature; several times I’ve left my home to go to the store and have had to turn around, half-way there (or sometimes all the way there) to get my cloth mask out of the dryer. My hand sanitizer is in the car with me at all times, for a quick cleaning when I get out of the store, and then I wash my hands thoroughly with soap and water when I get home. While at the store, I stay far away from others, waving to neighbors, co-workers, and friends from a safe distance. Here in Vermont, our restaurants are starting to open up again, and it’s a never-again-taken-for-granted treat to eat takeout at one of our local establishments (Four Columns, Eatery, Fat Crow, Rick’s, Grafton Tavern, and MKT: Grafton in our immediate area) at a picnic table, safely distanced from other patrons.
Grace Cottage, too, is starting to see signs of economic rebound. Hospitals around the state are beginning to do elective surgery and hospital-based procedures again. Our volumes in the clinic, in the Emergency Department, in Rehabilitation, and in the hospital are starting to edge upwards. This is a very good sign, because it means that our community is once again beginning to benefit from the excellent health care that we offer and provide. Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone quite a few appointments, so there’s a lot of pent-up demand that we are anxious to fill. Please help us to spread the news among your family, friends, and neighbors: It is safe to see a healthcare provider at Grace Cottage. It is safe to come to our Emergency Department if you need to. It is safe to take care of yourself and to seek preventive care and interact with your provider. Our talented and dedicated employees are ready for your return.
Messenger Valley Pharmacy has a brand new entrance, thanks to our talented Facilities Department, and up to four customers at a time can go into the store to shop and pick up prescriptions.
Now that we are on this encouraging (and, we hope, sustainable) trajectory, I will no longer be sending this Message to the Community weekly but, rather, on an as-needed basis. Meanwhile, please keep in touch with us, via Facebook.com/GraceCottageHospital or by going to our website at www.gracecottage.org; if you’re a patient here, please sign up for our Patient Portal (instructions are on our website).
Finally, on behalf everyone at Grace Cottage, I’d like to give a big shout-out to The Leland & Gray Class of 2020 (see below). We’re all very proud of you. CONGRATULATIONS!
Doug DiVello, President & CEO