05.18.20 Bi-Weekly Update
Children of the Earth
We are the Children of the Earth. We rely on the Earth, and the Earth relies on us. Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh, and green, or arid and parched, depends on our way of walking. Please touch the Earth in mindfulness, with joy and concentration. The Earth will heal you and you will heal the Earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh (b.1926-present)
Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition. Thích Nhất Hạnh spent most of his later life residing in the Plum Village Monastery in southwest France, traveling internationally to give retreats and talks.
We hope this email finds you well, WeCAN Family. Among this week's (Bi)Weekly Email Update items you'll find a new date for Green Up Day, local online events, a chance to submit your very own video segment to the Strolling of the Heifers Virtual Parade, the Inclusion Center Newsletter, and the text of the Governor's latest update to the Be Safe/Stay At Home orders relating to Covid 19.
Take a moment and grab a seat, pour yourself an ice cold drink, and scroll through this week's Email to be engaged and inspired. We look forward to connecting with you as we continue to distance ourselves at home.
HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, May 17th, 2020
The Infiltrators: Virtual New Cinema
hosted by Epsilon Spires
Sunday, May 17th, 2020-Friday, May 22nd, 2020 via www.theinfiltrators.vhx.tv. Tickets are $12.
A documentary-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center—on purpose.
Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri attempt a daring reverse ‘prison break,’ things don’t go according to plan.
The Infiltrators, from Latinx directors Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra, is a vital piece of hybrid cinema that shines light into the obscure realm of privately-operated immigration detention facilities. By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with scripted re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, the film tells this incredible true story using a boundary-crossing new cinematic language.
HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, MAY 18th, 2020-SUNDAY, MAY 24th, 2020
Rural Trans and Queer Health Justice Community Meeting
hosted by Out in the Open
Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 via ZOOM (please register by Monday, May 18th, 2020). 6pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Join Out in the Open, as we have a community conversation about rural trans and queer health justice on Wednesday, May 20th from 6pm-8pm. Virtual community meeting space will be limited to 25 folks to support the most interactive and engaging virtually space possible. We are prioritizing rural queer folks from the Connecticut River Valley.
In this time and always, we are fighting for rural health justice. We believe access to resources that support rural queer and trans community members- affordable healthcare, experiences within the healthcare system that affirm trans, nonbianary, and queer identities, access to mental health resources, access to medicine that is good for our bodies, supportive spaces for folks of different abilities, time, and resources is a right.
In this time, and always we know our health is connected to our quality of life, our health is connected to our ability to have work, housing, and dignity.
Join us as we make space to process our intersecting experiences in relationship to health justice and our rural LGBTQ identities.
Rise of Hate: The System That Promotes It
hosted by Brenda Siegel for Vermont
Thursday, May 21st, 2020. Use the link www.actionnetwork.org for more information. 4pm-6pm.
Throughout our society, hate has existed in many forms to oppress and divide people that those in power consider different. Systems have been designed across the country to ensure that people of color, women, and other marginalized groups are not able to attain true equality here in the United States. We need a paradigm shift in our society to fix how our economic, criminal justice, environmental, and governmental systems are designed and managed to root out biases, hate, and injustices. Hate is a structural problem that is people made. People made problems can be people fixed.
In the last twenty years, we've seen the Rise of Hate in many forms by white supremacists, anti-semites, and racists that have inflicted violence, fear, and death on historically marginalized communities. From armed people and police shooting and killing unarmed black men that are simply going about their daily lives across the country, to targeted shootings at churches, nightclubs, schools, and synagogues, and armed white supremacists rallying at our State Capitols and down our city streets, we must use our collective voices to stop the hate.
Join us to talk about this Rise of Hate, the systemic issues that must be resolved, the work being done on the ground to stop this violence, and possible solutions to help combat the racism, antisemitism, sexism, and xenophobia present in Vermont and across the country.
Special Guests Include :
Arizona State Rep. Alma Hernandez - the first Mexican-American Jewish person to win elected office in American history
Florida State Rep. Shevrin Jones - the first openly LGBT black person elected to the Florida Legislature
Amber Arnold - co-steward of The SUSU Healing Collective
More to be added soon.
Dr. Chesney on Preventing Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases
hosted by Living Earth Action Group|
Friday, May 22nd, 2020 via Zoom. 5:30pm-6:30pm. To be included on the Zoom call, please send an email to email@example.com, and include Dr. Chesney in the subject line. For more information call (802) 387-2601. Contact Person: Guy Payne, 802-376-9262.
Dr. Alexis Chesney, a naturopath specializing in the treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, will do a Zoom presentation with Living Earth Action Group from 5:30-6:30 on May 22nd. Dr. Chesney will focus on her new book, PREVENTING LYME AND OTHER TICK-BORNE DISEASES (Storey, 2020). There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. This is a chance to talk directly with an expert who is frequently featured at professional and patient-focused conferences and in the popular media. Her new book offers clear, concise advice about how to avoid tick-bites, and how to prevent becoming sick if you get one. Signed copies are available on her website, www.DrAlexisChesney.com, and through local bookstores.
Green Up Day Vermont
Saturday, May 30th, 2020
Usually the first Saturday in May, Green Up Day is a special day in Vermont when thousands of volunteers get involved in a community-wide Spring clean up of roadside litter. It is the largest statewide volunteer event in Vermont with over 22,500 taking part, and the longest running statewide Green Up Day in the United States.
Pride 2020 Car Caravan
hosted by Queer Connect
Saturday, June 6th, 2020. 12pm-2pm.
Saturday, June 6, 2020 was the day we had planned to host our second annual Bennington Pride parade and festival. Due to Covid-19 we will be celebrating in different ways than initially planned.
Here’s one way we will be celebrating and we need you to join us:
Join us the afternoon of Saturday, June 6 for our once in a lifetime (we hope!) Covid-inspired Pride Car Caravan!
-Adorn your car in Pride regalia and follow along as we drive around spreading our joyful Pride throughout the area.
-Cars will be convening in Bennington, Rutland, and Brattleboro at noon and meet up in Manchester around 1:00, Routes TBA. If you’d like a drive-by, let us know!
We want to stress our desire to keep everyone safe. We won’t be leaving our cars, just driving and waving and playing good music and spreading cheer!
Blood Drive at NECCA
hosted by NECCA: New England Center for Circus Arts
Friday, June 12th, 2020 at NECCA (10 Town Crier Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 2pm-7:30pm.
For more information please visit www.redcrossblood.org.
Giving back to our community is important to us, and donating blood is an easy way to do that. NECCA is excited to be partnering with the American Red Cross to host our second blood drive on Fri June 12. Don't worry, the Red Cross has changed how you give blood so it's totally updated for this time of COVID-19.
Follow the link to www.redcrossblood.org and use our zip code 05301 to find our event and reserve your spot. There will be no drop in options. When you arrive there will be no lines and no gathering in the lobby. Just you, giving blood, to help in a time of need.
Strolling of the Heifers Virtual Parade Submissions
While the coronavirus has canceled this year’s Strolling of the Heifers parade in downtown Brattleboro, fans of beautiful bovines the world over can watch – and be part of – the Streaming of the Heifers, a crowd-sourced celebration of cows and farming to be released online this June!
Strolling of the Heifers and WRSI The River are collaborating to create this online parade, and all are welcome to submit a video clip for inclusion.
“We were so disappointed to have to cancel the parade this year,” says Lissa Harris, Executive Director of Strolling of the Heifers. “We're happy to have an opportunity for parade marchers to still participate in a different way."
Any farm, individual, group, nonprofit, business or anyone else wishing to be part of the Streaming of the Heifers can submit their short video clip at the River’s web site, www.wrsi.com, by May 27th. Dress up your cow! Dress like a cow if you don’t have one!
The Streaming of the Heifers video will debut on June 6, on WRSI the River’s Facebook page.
Submit Your Video Here!
Inclusion Center is meeting on Zoom! It took a few weeks for us to become comfortable with this new way of being together, but it is working well now. IC continues to grow as we meet new people through our zoom connection. People who are usually unable to attend events in person can now attend Inclusion Center through Zoom. It's very nice for all of us to meet these new individuals. If you would like to join us on zoom, send us an email.
Stay safe everyone,
From all of us at Inclusion Center
In this issue: WRITINGS: Medical appointments, Best and worse of Covid, People say darndest things. INTRODUCTIONS : There are many involved in Inclusion Center. here are just a few of us. ART NEAR AND FAR: People in Pet Masks, Art of the Plagues
Inclusion Center Schedule (on Zoom)
Monday and Friday:
Work Group 10:30 to 11:00 (all are welcome)
Session 11:00 to 12:30
Work Group 10:30 to 11:00 (all are welcome)
Session 11 to 12:00 Conversation Cafe,
Mondays and Fridays are light- with games, improv, music and silliness.
Wednesdays are Conversation Cafe -serious discussions on 'hot' topics.
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/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPPORTUNITY
Are You Sewing Masks? We have patterns and more information here: https://www.wecantogether.net/masks
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 email@example.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
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, VT 05301
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Specifically, he needs them for office staff, patients, and to distribute to the homeless encampments in town. Thank you!
Online Religious Services
All Souls Church U.U. holds on-line services at 1o a.m. on Sundays and Virtual Vespers at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.
To get the current information on an upcoming service or vespers check the All Souls web page www.ascvt.org.
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 here. We 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 email@example.com for more information.
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
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.
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.
COVID 19 INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO WINDHAM COUNTY, VT
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Information
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.
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!
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.
WSESD Student Meal 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:
- 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
If you have special dietary requests or delivery plans, please contact:
Ali West: 802-257-3322
Justin McArdle: 802-451-3558
Brattleboro Families - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dummerston Familes - email@example.com
Guilford Familes - firstname.lastname@example.org
Vernon Familes - email@example.com
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.
COVID 19 GENERAL VERMONT INFORMATION
Weekly Summery of Vermont Covid19 Data
NEW: Weekly Summary of Vermont COVID-19 Data is a new feature, where you can see a deeper level of demographic and other detail. You can find out more about testing trends, outbreaks, pre-existing conditions and prevalence of symptoms.
The Path to Restart Vermont
NEW THIS WEEK: On May 15, signed Addendum 14, a Be Smart, Stay Safe order to extend the State of Emergency to June 15 and update previous emergency orders to reflect re-openings and eased restrictions announced in recent weeks. Addendum 14 | Press Release | Governor's Press Conference :
Be Smart/Stay Safe Governor’s Order
Section 1 of Addendum 6 of the Executive Order (Stay Home/Stay Safe), is hereby amended and restated as follows:
To preserve the public health and safety, to ensure the healthcare delivery system is capable of serving all, and to help protect those at the highest risk and vulnerability, Vermonters are encouraged to limit their exposure to disease outside their homes or places of residence as much as possible.
Vermonters should travel only as needed:
• For personal safety, medical care and care of others;
• For work, although all workers should continue to work remotely whenever possible;
• For shopping and services available at all businesses and non-profit and government entities determined to be critical and those which have been authorized to resume operations;
• To get fresh air and exercise by taking advantage of outdoor recreation and outdoor fitness activities that require low or no direct physical contact;
• For limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings; and
• For in-state stays at available lodging, campground and marina facilities.
To keep disease from spreading, Vermonters should maintain physical distancing and protocols for hygiene recommended in guidance from CDC, VDH and other designated state agencies and departments. This means:
• Always staying home and away from others if you are sick with COVID- 19, have recently been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or just don’t feel well;
• Keeping a 6-foot distance from others when you meet people outside of your household;
• Frequently washing your hands (hand sanitizer is acceptable when soap and water are not available);
• Coughing and sneezing into your elbow (even if you are wearing a facial covering);
• Wearing a facial covering over your nose and mouth when you are in close proximity to others from outside your household; and
• Limiting travel to within Vermont to the extent possible and when you do travel, limit non-essential stops.
Older adults (age 65 and over), and people with underlying medical conditions, like heart and lung disease or diabetes, are more likely to develop severe illness. They should continue to shelter in place, and Vermonters should do everything they can to help keep them safe.
General Public Mask Use. All Vermonters are encouraged to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth any time they are interacting with others from outside their households, including in congregate outdoor settings where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. Masks are not recommended for strenuous outdoor activity, anyone under the age of 2, anyone with a medical condition that is complicated or irritated by a facial covering, or anyone with difficulty breathing. Masks are not required when eating in outdoor settings. Businesses and non-profit and government entities may require customers or clients to wear masks. The legislative body of each municipality may enact more strict local requirements regarding mask use than those set forth herein.
Lodging Operations. Addendum 6 and Addendum 7 to the Executive Order are hereby modified to allow the limited resumption of lodging operations, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals, such as those made available through VRBO, Homeaway, AirBnb and other services, parks for recreational vehicles and campgrounds, all public and private camping facilities including those managed by the Vermont Department of Parks and Recreation, and marinas.
Lodging may be provided for the following purposes:
a. Housing vulnerable populations (emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state;
b. Providing accommodations for health care workers, other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure and workers entering the state for authorized work;
c. Use of lodging properties as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state; and
d. Lodging for Vermont residents and others who certify self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days prior to lodging overnight in Vermont.
On-line reservations may be resumed as of the date of this Addendum for stays beginning May 22, 2020. Lodging providers, and the online platforms that facilitate rentals and reservations, shall clearly post a prominent notice on their web platforms which advises potential guests of the health and safety requirements currently applicable to lodging and gatherings in Vermont.
The Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) shall issue mitigation requirements and procedures which require implementation of appropriate occupancy limits for stays and events and physical distancing, health and sanitation and training measures. The Secretary of ACCD, in consultation with the Commissioner of VDH, and with the approval of the Governor, may, from time-to-time, authorize additional limited, incremental, and phased resumption of lodging operations and update and modify the mitigation requirements and procedures regarding the resumption of lodging operations.
If the Commissioner of the VDH has determined that a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred and lodging operations cannot safely operate in a way that 1) limits the exposure of customers and staff to COVID-19 and 2) does not threaten to overwhelm our hospitals and healthcare resources, he is hereby authorized, with approval of the Governor, to notify and require any or all lodging operations to return to certain standards of operation.
Be Smart, Stay Safe – See guidance on small steps you can now take to safely visit with a friend or family member. It is important to continue physical distancing when you leave home, to prevent new cases from quickly increasing. Keep six feet between yourself and others when you are out.
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:
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
If you have these symptoms, call your health care provider.
Current COVID-19 Activity in Vermont As of 11:00 a.m. on May 16th, 2020
Hospitalized Under Investigation-17
Total People Recovered-804
People Being Monitored-20
People Completed Monitoring-860
*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.
Testing at Pop-up Locations – Anyone without symptoms can now be tested at a pop-up location. Health care workers, first responders and child care providers are encouraged to get tested. People who are returning to Vermont, and who are at day 7 or later in their quarantine period, can also be tested. Find testing locations and dates and register for a test.
Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
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.
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.
We still need your help! Please sign up to support the state’s COVID-19 response: https://vermont.gov/volunteer.
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.
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-
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.
VT Health Dashboards
VT Open Geodata Portal: https://geodata.vermont.gov/search?q=covid
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
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
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
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.
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.
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)
RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS
Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees
Specific Guidance for Employees:
Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims): 1-877-214-3332.
Specific guidance for 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
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.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Covid 19 Information and Resources can be found here:
CDC Tips for Managing Anxiety in the COVID-19 Outbreak
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugsexternal icon.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
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.
- Caring for Someone at Home(link is external) (CDC)
- Caring for Yourself at Home (link is external)(CDC)
- Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick(link is external) (CDC)
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.
ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
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.
Until next time, WeCAN readers. Be safe and healthy. We look forward to connecting with you soon.
Joanna and Leslie