05.04.2020 BiWeekly Update

05.04.2020 BiWeekly Update

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

From a WeCAN community member, Sam Warren: An Editorial

"My name is Sam Warren and I am a senior at UVM, originally hailing from Brattleboro. For my sociology class, I wrote a piece about reaching out to people in the community during Covid-19 that focuses on how to help people facing domestic violence during this time. I was wondering if you would consider posting this piece in the WeCan newsletter as part of my final project. Thank you for your consideration."

Thanks so much for your submission, Sam. We are more than happy to share your excellent paper! Here it is, in it’s entirety (followed by the events postings): 

The Danger of Covid-19 Inside Homes by Sam Warren

     Right now, throughout the world as the Coronavirus spreads, and as it spreads fast, there is more and more uncertainty, insecurity, and instability in a multitude of different factors. As we all seek to help our friends and family safe and healthy from the COVID-19 virus during this unsettling pandemic. For many folks this looks like panic buying many necessary supplies like pantry food, toiletries, and medicines. Another key aspect is staying home and not leaving unless its to get food, fresh air, or to work. All of these measures are vital to focus on. However it is also essential for members of the Burlington community to remember those who are struggling in many different ways in isolation. For many people, struggling could include experiencing unemployment, food insecurity, or lack of necessary resources like toilet paper, and these are all important issues to address. In addition, this is also a time during which people are stuck in their homes, and for some, this is really dangerous. Abuse of all kinds -- sexual, verbal, and physical -- happened before COVID-19, but with these new regulations many people are now isolated.
     Before COVID-19, people in these situations were not always forced to stay home. Many people used to be able to leave their abusive situations, whether for work, school, errands, or to see a friend or family. But now there is a lockdown where many cannot leave, and that is putting people in danger – and out of sight. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, citing information from the Department of Justice, “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.” The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) "National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report" states “1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” The report, “Occurring Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment: Local Policies/Practices and Relationships to Child Placement, Family Services and Residence”, by the National Institute of Justice, explains that violence does not only affect adults, but children as well, since “30 to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. There is a common link between domestic violence and child abuse: among victims of child abuse, 40% report domestic violence in the home.”
     These statistics above give a sense of the rates of abuse. However, while this issue is always a concern, it is even more dangerous in this time of panic with strains like struggling to find toilet paper, food, jobs, shelter or medicine. When these basic resources are not available and there are no places but home for people facing domestic abuse, this is even scarier. 
     Although this Covid-19 pandemic has never occurred before, Hurricane Harvey has seemed to have a similar impact on people in abusive situations. In the 2019 report, "Understanding the Impact of Hurricane Harvey on Family Violence Survivors in Texas and Those Who Serve Them”, Josephine V. Serrata and Gabriela Hurtado Alvarado express the detrimental consequences of financial, physical, and social strains on violence between partners and children stuck together during Hurricane Harvey. They said, “We found social factors that put people more at risk for violence are reduced access to resources, increased stress due to job loss or strained finances, and disconnection from social support systems.”
     Like Hurricane Harvey, Covid-19 is putting financial strains on people by creating a lot of unemployment and because our economy is collapsing, the price of things we need may rise. These stressors add to the inequality of who can get resources. Therefore, it is critical we look out for each other due to the potential creation or exacerbation of violence that could occur during this uncertain time.
     So, what can we do as a community to support folks who are in these situations, in this time of crisis? During this pandemic, reaching out to people and asking how they are doing is extremely important. If you are fearful for someone else’s safety, reach out to the person or call a hotline to have someone walk you through how to help the person you are concerned about. Also, you can donate food and other supplies, or post flyers (if you have printer access) to spread awareness for people without a computer or phone access.
Resources:
● Call 911
● Vermont Network https://vtnetwork.org/covid-19-update/
● STEPS TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Website https://www.stepsvt.org, or the 24-hour hotline at (802) 658-1996. If you’re outside of Chittenden County, Vermont, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-7233
● To reach someone at the crisis text line, text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis.
● HOPE WORKS (for sexual violence) is available 24/7 at 802-863-1236 or online at https://hopeworksvt.org/
Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395
Vermont Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273
LGBTQ+ Survivor Support-line: 802-863-0003
If you’re unable to speak safely: Log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522

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HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, MAY 3rd, 2020

Online Religious Services: All Souls Church U.U.
Sunday, May 3rd, 2020 and Thursday, May 7th, 2020. 
All Souls Church U.U. is holding online services on Sundays and "Virtual Vespers" Thursday evenings using Zoom. You can join the Sunday service shortly before 10am on at the link below. Sunday Service at 10am. Virtual Vespers start at 7pm. 
"Look for the Helpers" is the title this Sunday. As is the usual practice on the first Sunday of the month, the Social and Environmental Action Committee will present the service highlighting the community organization with which we'll be sharing Sunday offerings for the month. For May, All Souls Church has decided on a special "encore" offering for the Groundworks Collaborative, in support of their extensive efforts in addressing the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 crisis on neighbors whose housing and/or food sources are insecure. The guest speaker will be Josh Davis, executive director of Groundworks, who will explain what the organization is doing, and how others can help.
Virtual Vespers happen at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and can be joined at https://zoom.us/j/355387835?pwd=WWpTNWpZSjBVK1kzRWtNbW8zZ3RVQT09.

 

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HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, MAY 4th, 2020-SUNDAY, MAY 10th, 2020

Windham County Democrats: Community Engagement Meeting
Monday, May 4th, 2020. The meeting can be accessed on your computer at 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/356595543 or by calling into (929) 205 6099 and entering meeting ID: 356 595 543. 6:30pm-8pm.
The Windham County Democrats will be meeting on Monday, May 4, from 6:30p-8:00p via Zoom. The committee will be discussing community engagement in the pandemic, supporting candidates, and getting out the vote for the November election. Meetings are open to the public.

 

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FUTURE EVENTS

 

Democratic Gubernatorial Debate
Monday, May 11th, 2020. People can join this debate on-line at: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/96532515636 or by telephone at (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 965 3251 5636.
6:30pm-8pm.
The Windham County Democrats are hosting a debate between the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Monday, March 11, 6:30-8:00 on Zoom.  This debate is open to the public and we will be accepting questions from the audience via the chat function on Zoom.  

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COMMUNITY PETITION

Prison Should Not Be A Covid-19 Death Sentence: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/
COVID19 is impacting families all across Vermont and the nation. We have known from the beginning that group living settings are particularly susceptible to rapid infection. We have seen in other countries and states that the outcome of not taking strong preventative measures in prisons is a spike in cases of infection. We have also seen effective examples of precautions being taken 
Join myself, Representatives Mari Cordes, Kevin Christie, Selene Colburn and Brian Cina. House rep candidate, Tanya Vyhovsky, Chittenden County Senate Candidate, Kesha Ram, Barre City Councilor; Teddy Waszazak, Burlington City Councilor; Zoraya Hightower, and other elected officials in demanding health justice for all Vermonters. Please add your name to ask Governor Phil Scott to take preventative and reactive measures to protect Vermont's Prison Population, Corrections Officers and Staff, along with the greater community. Elected officials and candidates will be added as we connect and they respond. Today I ask all of you to join us! https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/

 

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Southern Vermont Dance Festival

SVDF Digital Dance Festival
Join the Southern Vermont Dance Festival in our 2020 Digital Dance Festival group.  Dancers, dance schools and companies can share your classes here and can submit films, improv and choreography.  We can't be together, but, let's join together online.  SVDF will soon announce our summer plans to keep this art alive as we are distant. Join this group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2934801179940081/?source_id=440570312689292

Statement from Founder and Director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival:
SVDF started as a long term economic driver for our community.  We can not quite express the grief we feel as the economic impact of COVID-19 grows.  We are grateful to have a structure and platform to continue to support the long term economic growth of Downtown and the greater community.  We look forward to working with all of our businesses to brainstorm as we continue our mission to drive our local economy.  Please feel free to reach out to southernvermontdancefestival@gmail.com with your ideas.  We remain fully committed to the economic vitality of our region.  Thank you all for what you are doing to support our community in this time.  

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPPORTUNITY

 

Are You Sewing Masks?

Would you if you had the right things? This is a simple survey that is meant to help unite and organize the community's mask-making effort. This information will help us get materials to people who can make masks but don't have what they need, and help the right designs reach the right populations and prioritized centers of need. From this survey we will form an email list and give regular updates and news of requests, coordination of donated materials, etc. Thank you!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfSfz5QGjZoaJ30iDVF0flqOoTiCieEXRxSNOEcvvtN5JXTgw/viewform

 

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Urgent Need for Masks and Face Coverings for Our Medical First Responders and Professionals
If you sew or can source materials for those who sew, we need your help! 
Join thousands of volunteers across the country and create masks for health care providers, patients, and caregivers.
You can follow this basic pattern here: https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR0vI5CexA--uiCba5beFlL11TPY03t5TW2zJMrSIRix45AKSRqBfsRU-Mk
OR use this FANTASTIC beginner tutorial here, created by local Brattleboro business owner Alix Joyal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT3TX572x2s&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2IogSiQ8-0-gMvIiZcj1EHU8jRE0nB5w80DzvVWMXdKJdpq3pU5na4P84.
You can check out her eco-friendly business, JoyalTee, here: https://joyaltee.com.
If you would like help or support while creating, please consider joining an ongoing Facebook group like Stop the Bug: Nationwide PPE Drive.
If you have masks ready and need assistance in getting them where they need to go, please contact Joanna Phillips at joannawilsonphillips@gmail.com and they will be put to immediate use. Thank you! 
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital would prefer that you make these masks ONLY for their use.
You may drop off finished masks and gowns in the receptacle on the porch of 55 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301. If you cannot make it out to the drop site, you can mail them here:
C/O Gina Pattison
BMH
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301

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Masks (N95 and Homemade) Needed in Windham County

-Dr. Jeremy Morrison, at Home Farm Family Medicine in Brattleboro is in need of masks. He can be reached at jeremy@homefarmfamily.com. Specifically, he needs them for office staff, patients, and to distribute to the homeless encampments in town. Thank you!

 

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Online Religious Services

All Souls U. U. Church, Brattleboro, VT is holding on-line services Sunday mornings at 10am. Click right here to join our next online service.
Our Buddhist friends tell us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.  Could the same be said of fear and anxiety?  As we gather in this new realm of virtual worship, how is it with your soul?  Following the service there will be a time for virtual fellowship – a time for us all to chat on-line.  So, grab a cup of coffee and your most comfortable chair and we’ll see you Sunday!
Join the service about 10 a.m. or a little earlier at the link above.
Meeting ID: 670 556 039
If you do not have internet connection at that time,  you can join by phone:
Dial one of these numbers:
312 626 6799
929 205 6099
Meeting ID: 670 556 039
Password: 741852

Virtual Coffee Hour
We will keep the Zoom meeting going after the service so folks can say hi. If a subset of the group — for example the Caring Circle — wants to meet on the side we can try to move them into a “break out room.”

 

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LGTBQIA+ Resources via Out in the Open

Out in the Open is offering a lot of resources & virtual spaces for rural LGBTQ folks in this time, friends. The full list and calendar is on our website hereWe have a Community Care Offers & Asks list, and a list of Rural New England Mutual Aid opportunities, with specific resource links for LGBTQ and QTPOC folks. Out in the Open also has a Slack channel for rural LGBTQ folks to share resources and connect outside of social media. Email info@weareoutintheopen.org for more information.

 

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COVID 19 RESOURCES: VERMONT

Statewide Mutual Aid
organized by Brenda for Vermont
Localized Mutual Aid has been organized in Brattleboro and Putney and hyper local neighborhoods in Marlboro.  If your community does not have mutual aid or you can't find it, please sign up to volunteer or if you are in need of help.  All of us will likely be on the side of being able to help and needing help at times.  Please don't hesitate to ask for help.
Sign up here if you would like to help your neighbors or are in need of help:https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/help-your-neighbor/
The links below will take you directly to the mutual aid forms. 
To Volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfkRnbDKtNX_SacVaHWPyIAnsSXDGLsDMZE8vys25nzTgUo5A/viewform
If You Need Help: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfw7gg12KNq6n4s7SDUxf1ghMx-0MD3S0RCWQtxqmPTJQI8QA/viewform

 

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A Message to Vermonters from Senator Bernie Sanders

As a member of the United States Senate, I want to make sure that the citizens of Vermont receive all of the federal benefits and help to which they are entitled. Although I cannot guarantee a particular outcome, I want you to know that my staff and I will do our best to respond to your concerns.
To contact Senator Sanders with a question, concern or comment please use this link: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/services/casework/.
If you want to contact me about your views and concerns regarding legislation and other issues important to you please use the COMMENTS FORM
If this is an emergency, please call: 802-862-0697 (Out-of-State 800-339-9834).
Note: We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries. As we do our utmost to assist vulnerable Vermonters, please only complete the form above if you are requesting assistance. Go to General Comments to leave comments and opinions.

 

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Social Justice Resources

ROOT SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER MUTUAL AID & SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
The Root Social Justice Center is collecting a list of contacts and resources to help support and assist with the needs of their Root community members. Join if you are in need or are able to help.

 

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COVID 19 INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO WINDHAM COUNTY, VT

 

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Information
https://www.bmhvt.org
802-257-0341
BMH maintains a COVID-19 information page at https://www.bmhvt.org/coronavirus and reminds all who have primary care physicians to check with those providers if they have questions or concerns about their health.

 

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WINDHAM COUNTY HOUSING INFORMATION FOR UNHOMED PERSONS

From Rhianna Kendrick at Groundworks Collaborative (rkendrick@groundworksVT.org, C: (802) 275-7179)
‣ Economic Services [ESD] has extended the Adverse Weather Condition motel rooms for 7 days starting today, and will assess this next week again
‣ There are no longer any periods of ineligibility.
‣ They are no longer referring clients to emergency shelter first before placing them in a motel through General Assistance [GA]. ESD staff are working on issues around GA motel capacity.
‣ The state is actively working on strategies to consider where current GA clients are housed.
‣ Shelters and transitional housing programs that do not have separate bedrooms and bathrooms for clients are recommended to stop accepting new clients into shelter, and instead to refer them to GA for a motel voucher -  Groundworks is following this recommendation.  If you run into any issues, please let me know and I can troubleshoot solutions.
‣ It has been recommended that DV agencies with their own motel funds also follow the above recommendation 
‣ The process to access a motel room is to call the benefits center at 800-479-6151, and then the local office will call people back.  If you run into issues with access please let me know and I can help solve them, either with ESD or  2-1-1.  After 4:30pm, it is no longer the local office supporting GA motel rooms, and folks will instead need to call 2-1-1.
Please share this widely, and don't hesitate to reach out to me with any problems that I can help solve!

 

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FREE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD IN WINDHAM COUNTY

The Retreat Farm (Route 30, Brattleboro, VT, 05301; Please call (802) 490-2270) is giving away one bag of food per family. This includes bread, eggs, and milk. What started as a spontaneous response to the crisis has grown into Retreat Farm’s Emergency Food Pantry. If you are in immediate need of assistance, please visit: https://www.retreatfarm.org/community-aid

Brigid’s Kitchen, St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut Street, Brattleboro 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072 
Grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mon, Weds, Thus, and Sat, 11:30am-12:20pm.

Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church 193 Main Street, Brattleboro (802) 254-4730
Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12pm.

VT Foodbank and Veggie Van Go will be at Brattleboro Union High School (Fairground Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the parking lot, on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 10am-2pm. Drive up, touchless pickup. Walkers welcome, too. Call VT 211 for more information. 

Foodworks, the food shelf program of the Groundworks Collaborative https://groundworksvt.org (802) 490-2412, ccolascione@GroundworksVT.org 
Households in need of food are asked to call or email to coordinate delivery. There is an urgent need for volunteers, and Foodworks has set up protocols to keep staff, volunteers, and clients as safe as possible. Please email us at volunteer@GroundworksVT.org if you are able to help.

Guilford Food Pantry 
Every Thursday at the BBCC (3940 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT, 05301). 5pm-6pm.
We know that supplemental food can make such a big difference in one's budget. That is why we are stocking our shelves for our neighbors. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, dairy. Guilford Cares welcomes anyone in need of supplemental food for themselves or their families.

 

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WSESD Student Meal Information
General Information
To ensure that the nutritional needs of all of our students are met during this extended school closure, we are developing a system for distributing breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. This program will run for the duration of the school closure.
Please see below for important details:
Meal Distribution

  • Distribution will begin on March 18th, 2020
  • Meals should be picked up Monday-Friday at your distribution spot
  • Food distribution will occur after 10:30am , schedule coming soon 
  • Meals will include lunch and breakfast for the following day
  • We will utilize our current bus route as well as specific distribution locations
  • You only need to register once 

How To Apply

  • In order to receive meals, you will need to complete the Student Information Survey
  • If you can't access the survey please use the phone #'s listed below to leave a message for Ali West or Justin McArdle
  • Please arrange to pick-up meals at one site ONLY, even if you have multiple children in different schools

Contact Information
If you have special dietary requests or delivery plans, please contact: 
Ali West: 802-257-3322 
Justin McArdle: 802-451-3558
Brattleboro Families - bratfood@wsesdvt.org
Dummerston Familes - dummerstonfood@wsesdvt.org
Guilford Familes - guilfordfood@wsesdvt.org
Vernon Familes - vernonfood@wsesdvt.org

 

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Vermont WIC is Responding to Covid 19
We are moving to phone appointments to align with social distancing efforts. If you have opted in to email and text notifications, you will receive important program updates, including information about local office hours and changes in operations. Our website will be kept up-to-date as well. Contact your local office with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition or shopping. Call 1-800-649-4357 or email WIC@Vermont.gov with any questions about WIC nutrition services and enrollment.

 

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COVID 19 GENERAL VERMONT INFORMATION

The Path to Restart Vermont

As modeling showed continued progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, Governor Phil Scott Friday announced a third incremental, evidence-based step forward to put Vermonters back to work. Among the changes in the new addendum:
• Certain businesses can operate with a maximum of 10 employees if they can comply with health and safety requirements.
• Those businesses must adopt a specific training program which must be made available upon request.
• Employees must be pre-screened before each work shift, including temperature checks and survey to verify each employee has no symptoms of respiratory illness.
• Businesses and non-profit and government entities may require customers or clients to wear masks, and all commuters are required to wear a mask while using mass transit.

View the memo to business for specific safety guidelines and protocols, as well as additional resources, at accd.vermont.gov.

We Still Have a Long Way to Go

Acknowledging the progress that we have made so far has been steady, but is fragile, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said it is important that we avoid a rush to resume close in- person contacts, which could allow the virus to thrive. The state is closely monitoring the data and trends for how soon we can start to safely reconnect face-to-face.

Dr. Levine also noted that the CDC has expanded its list of COVID-19 symptoms to watch for.
In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms may include:
• Chills
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Headache
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
If you have these symptoms, call your health care provider.

Updated VT Map

An updated map by town of Vermonters who have tested positive for COVID-19 has been added at healthvermont.gov/covid19 (click on the map of Vermont), in addition to a list of Frequently Asked Questions specific to the map. The data reflects lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Vermont residents, by their town of residence. All case data is preliminary and is updated as new information comes in. Residents of a long-term care facility or inmates at a correctional facility are counted in the town where the facility is located when they were tested. The map has been updated to reflect that 38 cases at Northwest State Correctional Facility initially counted in Swanton (the facility’s mailing address) are now listed under St. Albans Town (physical location). The map does not represent people with active infections, and no town is “safe” from COVID- 19 regardless of how many – or few – lab confirmed cases are listed. We know the virus is in our communities and we should continue to follow stay home orders and health guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 – no matter what town we live in.

Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont As of 11:00 a.m. on May 1, 2020
Total cases* 879
Currently hospitalized 11
Hospitalized under investigation 8
Deaths +50
Total tests 16,233
People being monitored 20
People completed monitoring 833

*Includes testing conducted at the Health Department Laboratory, commercial labs and other public health labs.
+Death occurring in persons known to have COVID-19. Death certificate may be pending. Hospitalization data is provided by the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition and is based on hospitals updating this information.

Protect Yourself and Others Near You

We still need to physically distance ourselves from one another and follow other health guidance. Keep 6 feet between you and others, and give each other a wide berth when walking or biking. It is also more important than ever to make wearing cloth face coverings a habit whenever we leave home.

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Serologic (Antibody) Testing

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD reported on Friday the findings of a working group of Vermont experts researching antibody tests. At this time, the group found the tests that are currently available are not accurate or reliable enough to make decisions or recommendations to change individual or population-level behaviors. The group will continue reviewing the information periodically to see if there are improvements.
Serologic testing measures antibodies in the blood of a person who has been infected with COVID-19, whether they felt sick or not. In other words, it measures the body’s immune response to the virus, but does not detect the virus itself.

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New on Healthvermont.gov: Race and Ethnicity Data

The Health Department is now including data about race and ethnicity on its data dashboard at healthvermont.gov/covid19. We recognized the need to include this information to help us understand how Vermonters were being affected by COVID-19, but in our earlier efforts to respond to the pandemic, race and ethnicity data was not always collected for each patient. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy – especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other systemic inequalities. Therefore, our epidemiology team collaborated with Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL) to cross-reference medical records to gain more robust race information about COVID-19 cases in Vermont. At the end of March, race was unknown in 73% of cases, but through our joint work, we have brought that number down to just 8%. We have been able to partner with VITL through a state directive issued in response to the State of Emergency. We can use this data to help to prevent the spread of illness, improve care for patients, and present a more complete picture of how COVID-19 may be affecting everyone in Vermont. The Vermont State Health Assessment reports on what we know about the health status of Vermonters. Updated every five years, most recently in 2018, the assessment provides vital data for examining health inequities by race and ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and geography. See the report and learn more at healthvermont.gov/sha.

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Cloth Face Coverings

The department recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home, since COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms. Facial coverings are encouraged for essential workers in stores and their customers.

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Volunteering

We still need your help! Please sign up to support the state’s COVID-19 response: https://vermont.gov/volunteer. 

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Guidance for Vermonters

Who to contact:

• If you have questions: Use the Ask A Question tool on healthvermont.gov and review the FAQs.

• For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636.

• If you are sick: Stay home and contact your health care provider online or by phone. Do not go to the hospital, except in a life-threatening situation.

Call the Health Department at 802-863-7240. We’re ready to respond to COVID-19 health-related questions. Calls are answered 8am - 6pm, seven days a week. Outside those hours, leave a message and your call will be returned.

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Testing

The Department of Health continues to test Vermonters with COVID-19 symptoms to help increase contact tracing efforts and prevent the virus from spreading. Vermonters can be tested at hospital locations statewide and health centers in Island Pond, South Hero and Wells River. Additional sites will be opened as the needs are determined.

IMPORTANT: Everyone must have a referral from their provider in order to be tested.

• CALL your health care provider to be evaluated so the provider can determine if you need a test.

• DO NOT go to a testing site without an order from your provider. Patients who are NOT experiencing symptoms will not be tested.

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Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

Spring in Vermont is great – so take the proper precautions and go outside. Just be sure to stay close to home, practice social distancing, choose low-risk activities and respect all signs for closed areas  and Covid-19. For more info visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-

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Green Up Day

Gov. Phil Scott noted that Green Up Day, when Vermonters traditionally come together to clean up miles of Vermont roads, would normally have taken place Saturday. The Governor urged anyone out walking or hiking this weekend to bring along a bag or two and help keep the state green. Remember to maintain physical distancing and to wear your mask.

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Ticks are Terrible at Social Distancing

As you go safely outdoors, remember that the ticks are starting to come back and are hungry for their spring meal. It’s up to us to stay away from them. Use insect repellent, avoid wooded and brushy areas, and always do a tick check when you get home. Get more tick tips at healthvermont.gov/BeTickSmart.

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VT Health Dashboards

VT Health: https://vcgi.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6128a0bc9ae14e98a686b635001ef7a7

VT Open Geodata Portal: https://geodata.vermont.gov/search?q=covid

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Are You an Uninsured Vermonter?

Uninsured Vermonters can sign up for Vermont Health Connect until April 17th, 2020, no matter how long you've been uninsured. Apply now by calling Vermont Health Connect at 1-855-899-9600. For free help, call the Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787 or online at: https://vtlawhelp.org/vhc-coronavirus

 

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RESOURCES FROM THE VT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily Department of Health updates please use this link: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

 

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VERMONT ESSENTIAL PERSONS INFORMATION 

Vermont Emergency Management Has Issued This Essential Persons List for Covid-19 Response
It includes staff and providers of childcare and education services, healthcare providers, public health employees, firefighters, first responders, pharmacy staff, grocery workers, and many more. The full list is here: https://vem.vermont.gov/sites/demhs/files/Essential%20Persons_03182020.pdf

 

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WSESU Essential Worker Request for Childcare
According to the state, "Essential Workers" will now be able to get childcare from the public school system. If you are classified as an Essential Worker and have no other adult available to provide childcare while you are at your job, you should complete this form. Once your form is submitted, you will be contacted by school personnel with more information.  
If you have questions, please contact the school counselor where your student is enrolled.

 

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NEIGHBORLY ASSISTANCE PRECAUTION RECOMMENDATIONS

While Vermonters are staying home or choosing activities that maintain social distancing as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19, some are stepping up to ensure their neighbors have what they need. This type of community support is crucial, but we need to make sure our helpers and volunteers are still using social distancing practices to protect our most vulnerable Vermonters.
Any volunteers bringing items to those who need to stay home should:

  • Keep a distance of six feet away.
  • Avoid entering the recipient’s home.
  • Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you feel sick or learn that you have had contact with someone who is sick, stop doing community support work immediately.
  • Keep a list of anyone you come into close contact with in case contact tracing is required.
  • Wear clean gloves when handling items that may be given to people with a weaker immune system, and when you are close to someone who may be sick.

Common sense practices can go a long way while Vermonters take care of each other.
Want to help? Consider signing up for the Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteers can be deployed locally in the event of an emergency, support first aid stations at community events, educate the public on preparedness, and assist in promoting various health and wellness activities. You can also reach out to local community groups/organizers like rotary and lion clubs, soup kitchens and check out your neighborhood Front Porch Forum group.
Resources

Fact Sheets: Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks from The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (Vermont Department of Mental Health)
Managing Anxiety and Stress
(CDC)
Slide Presentation on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Useful Posters

Social Distancing (smaller version)
Social Distancing
(larger version)
Keep Germs from Spreading
Proper Handwashing

 

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RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS

Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
Specific Guidance for Employees:
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/employees
Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims):  1-877-214-3332.
Specific guidance for Employers:
https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/employers
Employer Assistance (Unemployment Claims):  1-877-214-3331.
Vermont’s unemployment rules have been relaxed to be able to help folks. Their phone lines are swamped, so here is a link where you can start the process of applying for Vermont Unemployment Insurance. https://appengine.egov.com/apps/vt/dol/unemploymentinsuranceclaim

 

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MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE

Vermont Support Line from Pathways Vermont (833) 888-2557
The Vermont Support line is a free, anonymous resource for all Vermonters who are looking for someone to talk to. The Support Line is staffed by individuals who acknowledge that they have experienced a broad range of struggles of their own and are willing to be open about them.

 

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National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Covid 19 Information and Resources can be found here:
COVID-19-and-Mental-Illness-NAMI-Releases-Importan/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf?lang=en-US
.

 

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CDC Tips for Managing Anxiety in the COVID-19 Outbreak
Things you can do to support yourself

 

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IF YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER IS ILL

  • Stay home. Many people who are mildly ill can manage their symptoms at home with rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medicine (Tylenol), when needed. Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Call your doctor and ask to be seen for an evaluation. Do not go to the doctor's office unless instructed to do so. Anyone who does not have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to be connected to a clinic in their area.
  • Do not go to or visit any hospitals or long-term care facilities unless absolutely necessary. This is to protect everyone’s health, including patients and staff.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and animals in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick around other people and pets.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

Resources

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RESOURCE FOR WeCAN

Rapid Response Text Alert System

When WeCAN began, Song & Solidarity set up a Rapid Response Text Alert System for WeCAN Groups. Directions for signing up are on WeCAN's website, here: https://www.wecantogether.net/rapid_response. We are grateful to Song and Solidarity for providing this service.

  

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ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING 

Indigo Radio
Sundays at 12pm on Brattleboro Community Radio 107.7FM. To stream live, visit: www.wvew.org 
Indigo Radio, deepening understanding and making connections! IndigoRadio is a group of area educators seeking to learn through engaging with others in our community and throughout the world. We will be talking about educational and social issues both globally and locally and connecting them to our lives and Brattleboro community. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigoradiowvew/. For archive recordings of past shows: https://soundcloud.com/user-654648353

 

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     Until next time, WeCAN readers. Be safe and healthy. We look forward to connecting with you soon. 

 

Joanna and Leslie
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