A quick reminder that Rep. Gannon and I will be hosting a discussion tomorrow Thursday November 18th at 8:30 am on Pupil Weighting and past and future work of the Weighting Task Force.
Join Zoom Meeting online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/734376857?pwd=Z1BmNmlwcWxJMWxVZTFaZE96MmlQQT09or by phone +1 646 558 8656 US Meeting ID: 734 376 857 Passcode: 003089
Tomorrow night I will be meeting virtually with constituents who are at the Wardsboro Public Library or joining us virtually – thank you Lizzie for pulling this together so quickly!
Topic: Rep. Laura Sibilia at the Wardsboro Public Library
Time: Nov 18, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Given the continued high number of COVID-19 cases, next Monday the Governor is calling the House and Senate into a Special Session Vermont House and Senate in order for the Legislature to give municipalities the ability to require mask mandates.
I’ve been staying in regular touch w the governor’s office as case counts have been rising this Fall, and appreciate his judiciousness regarding using executive powers and his reluctance to declare a new state of emergency. My sense is he is considering many factors and trying to maintain balance. In addition to the pandemic, we have seen the promotion of conspiracy theories and leveraging of division amongst our fellow citizens emerge as serious threats to our democracy.
The governor can not make every citizen get vaccinated. And, this is now largely about the unvaccinated. That includes those willfully putting others at risk by not vaccinating and not masking and also our innocent kids who have not been or who still are not eligible for vaccines.
The Governor has regularly been willing to reconsider his position in light of new information. I have found this humility to be one of his best qualities. Many in the legislature have asked him to shift his position on a mask mandate given the recent eye popping rise in cases. Protecting hospital capacity, particularly in a labor shortage, has to be considered.
At this point, I believe we need a statewide indoor mask mandate, at least until every citizen is able to choose to be vaccinated – including children. I would prefer the Governor issue this through his health officer or through a new narrow emergency order. A pandemic is not a local issue.
The Governor has announced funding for staffing ten more ICU beds in the state. He has also indicated he will sign a bill that allows local governments to decide on mask mandates. I will vote in favor of that if given the opportunity, and it appears we will have that opportunity on Monday. The Governor has also said he “will not support” efforts that go beyond that. A governor has three choices when presented with legislation: veto, sign or allow to pass into law without his signature. I note the governor has not yet used the “V” word.
If there is additional legislation proposed my job will be the same as it always is – to carefully read all of the words to determine if it something that ensures or improves the overall balance between protections to our most vulnerable and protections of individual freedoms.
Today the Governor also Ordered a Universal Booster Program for All Vaccinate Vermonters
Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is eligible two months after their first dose. Individuals who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible six months after completing their initial vaccination.
Vermont data shows boosters are already working to keep cases among the vulnerable populations lower, which can decrease pressure on local hospitals. About 50% of Vermonters over the age of 65 have received a booster.
Message to the Community from Grace Cottage Hospital
November 16, 2021
Dear Members of the Community,
Vermont has been receiving a great deal of attention in the news these days, and not just because of Patrick Lahey’s announcement that he won’t be running for the Senate in 2022. There have been shifts regarding COVID-19 case rates, exposure / quarantining / testing standards, and treatment, so this seems like a good time to review the current COVID-19 situation in Vermont, and to put things into perspective: Vermont’s average daily COVID-19 cases are up 82% over the last 14 days. We currently have the 6th highest daily case rate among all 50 states. However, we are 43rd among all states in the rate of hospitalizations. Why are cases of COVID-19 surging in Vermont, and what can be done to get us back on track?
- Because we were eager to comply and many of us got our COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as we were eligible, we now have waning vaccine immunity. The solution? Get your booster shot as soon as possible.
- We are seeing a decrease in the use of masks in public places. Mask Up!
- The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious. Get vaccinated, get your booster shot, continue to social distance, and wear your mask.
- Unvaccinated children have the highest case rates in Vermont. Get your children vaccinated.
- Those most at risk (the immunocompromised) should consider treatment with intravenous monoclonal antibodies.
But, for the following reasons, don’t panic:
- Hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 in Vermont are currently quite low. In fact, among all 50 states, Vermont has the 7thlowest daily rate of hospitalization.
- VT has the highest vaccination rate of any state in the U.S.
- Vermont’s COVID-19 death rate since the beginning of the pandemic is still the lowest of any state, at 62 deaths per 100,000 people (for comparison: 119/100,000 in New Hampshire; 281/100,000 in Florida; 342/100,000 in Mississippi.
To sum up:
- Community transmission of the COVID-19 virus is high.
- Masks should be worn in indoor public places while prevalence of the virus continues to be high.
- No social interactions are without some level of risk. However, socializing in small groups of vaccinated people indoors without masks seems to be relatively safe and appropriate for healthy individuals.
- The virus is, or soon will be, ubiquitous. Nearly everyone on this planet will get it at some point.
- For those who are unvaccinated, many will suffer illness, many will lose days of work, some will be hospitalized, some will suffer long-term consequences, and about 1% will die.
- For those who are vaccinated, most will not suffer illness; some will develop moderate symptoms for a couple of days; some of those who are older and have medical conditions will be hospitalized; only a very few will suffer long-term consequences.
- Vaccination of the population, particularly now focusing on children, will significantly decrease the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus.
In other news, some of you may have read recent media coverage about a consultant’s report presented to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), attempting to assess the sustainability of hospitals in Vermont, and to start a conversation about how to reduce the cost of healthcare in the state. The report, produced by a California firm, was based on 2019 data (some of which appears to be erroneous) and contains many controversial recommendations. The consultant recommended that Grace Cottage and some other hospitals reduce the number of inpatient beds and other services. We believe that the consultants didn’t have a clear understanding about the type and quality of care that Grace Cottage provides.
As hospitals throughout the state and the region now struggle with a shortage of beds due to increased demand and critical staffing shortages, it’s very apparent that the consultant’s research and conclusions are not based on today’s reality. I can assure you that we will continue to do everything conceivable to remain an independent and financially sustainable organization, which is known and respected for providing services on a level not provided elsewhere.
If you have questions and would like to discuss this further, feel free to reach out. I would welcome your thoughts and feedback.I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
Doug DiVello, President & CEOGrace Cottage Family Health & Hospital
As always, if you have suggestions, concerns or critiques please be in touch so we can schedule time to discuss.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com
Rep. Laura Sibilia Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham