Skip to main content

An Official Vermont Government Website

Vermont State Logo

COVID Update from the Administrator 01-11-2022

January 11, 2022

Good afternoon,

The Omicron variant continues to impact our staff at VVH.  Since January 1, 2022, through this morning we have had 10 staff members test positive for COVID, 6 of which are hands on care givers.   We continue to conduct twice weekly PCR testing for all staff and as needed rapid antigen testing for any staff member who has any potential COVID-19 symptoms.  All staff are wearing N95 masks and face shield throughout the building and full PPE (gown, gloves, N95 mask, and face shield) for care for any Veteran or Member on quarantine,

Veterans are testing twice weekly when their unit is impacted by COVID, and rapid antigen tested when they are experiencing any potential COVID symptoms.  Group activities and meals on American and North have been suspended and Veterans and Members are encouraged to stay in their rooms.  As needed, we will allow individual residents some time out of their room, one at a time, for a change of scenery. 

We are in regular contact with the Vermont Department of Health and are closely monitoring our staffing levels.  An emergency staffing plan has been developed and will be reviewed with family members at tonight’s 6pm Zoom Meeting.   Our staffing remains above the required state minimums currently.  I have been in contact with the VA’s Emergency Management office to notify them of our current situation and to see what support they may be able to provide if our staffing levels continue to drop. 

You can continue to visit your loved one despite our current outbreak, but by doing you so you acknowledge that you could potentially contract COVID while visiting this facility.  It is mandatory that all visitors follow the Core principles of Infection Control from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) listed below. 

  1. All visitors must complete the required COVID screening by using the Accushield device located at each unit’s entrance.  Visitors must wear the Accushield sticker in a visible location during their entire visit.  If you have issues with the screening process, please contact the Nursing Supervisor at 802-375-5909
  2. Any visitor who is unable to successfully pass the COVID screen in prohibited from visiting.  This includes but in not limited to having signs/symptoms of COVID-19 (see below) recent close contact with an individual with COVID-19, or currently positive for COVID-19.
  3. Hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entry to the facility and frequently during your visit is required.
  4. Due to the high rate of community prevalence of COVID facial coverings are required at all times, even in a Veteran’s/Member’s room regardless of the vaccination status of the Veteran, Member or Visitor.  
  5. You may only visit your loved one and no other Veterans/Members.
  6. You must remain in the visiting area or your loved one’s room for the duration of your visit. 
  7. You must maintain 6 feet of distance between you, other visitors, and staff at all times.
  8. With the high community prevalence of COVID-19 physical touch is discouraged at this time.
  9. Eating and drinking with your loved on is also discouraged at this time due to the high community prevalence.
  10. VVH reserves the right to suspend or end visits for non-compliance or prevent anyone for visiting who may appear symptomatic.

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

Most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness

Less common symptoms:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes

Serious symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Loss of speech of movement

Please do not visit if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID, the Flu or other respiratory infections. 

Visitor Testing and Proof of Vaccination

Testing and proof of vaccination are not required for visits but are strongly encouraged.  VVH is unable to test visitors for COVID. Locations for COVID testing in Vermont can be found at the following link:  Where to Get Tested | Vermont Department of Health (healthvermont.gov)  For New York:  Find a Test Site Near You | Department of Health (ny.gov)  For Massachusetts:  COVID-19 Testing | Mass.gov

Virtual or telephone visits can be arranged by contacting your loved one’s Social Worker:

A-Wing & Dom                  Corey McCann                   802-447-6524                          corey.mccann@vermont.gov

Brandon & North             Aisling Taft                          802-447-6474                                 aisling.taft@vermont.gov              

Cardinal                                Christina Cosgrove          802-447-2792                 christnia.cosgrove@vermont.gov

Staff Vaccination Rates

VVH continues to encourage Veterans, Members, and Staff to be vaccinated and to receive a booster.  85% of our entire staff is vaccinated the remaining 15% have approved medical or religious exemptions.  79% of our LNAs and 74% of our direct care nurses are vaccinated.

Family Meeting Zoom Link

The link to tonight’s zoom meeting is as follows:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86882621396?pwd=eWxFOFZoS3FLdGFFTWlnT0VuejVFZz09

Meeting ID: 868 8262 1396

Passcode: 236305

Via Phone: 

1-929-205-6099       

Meeting ID: 868 8262 1396

Passcode: 236305

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbXO3SQ2Ag

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Melissa A. Jackson, MBA. LNHA, FACHCA

Chief Executive Officer

Vermont Veterans’ Home

325 North Street

Bennington, VT 05201

https://Vvh.vermont.gov

802-447-6510