MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Governor Phil Scott Thursday announced new steps to prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases at local hospitals and continued his appeal for volunteers to help.
It comes as the number of confirmed cases in Vermont rose to 338 and the number of deaths reached 17.
Scott says two additional medical surge sites will be added to the three previously announced. One 400 bed site will be located at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction and will be staffed by the Vermont National Guard. The other, in Rutland County, will have 150 beds and will be staffed by the Rutland Regional Medical Center.
Three previously announced surge sites will be at the Collins Perley Sports and Fitness Center in St. Albans, the Barre Civic Center in Barre, and at the University of Vermont. Scott says additional rapid reaction trailers with 50 additional beds have been prepositioned across the state including Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Windsor.
As of Thursday health officials say at least 29 people are being treated for COVID-19 at area hospitals and another 42 have been admitted and are under investigation.
"We continue to expand our medical surge capacity to be prepared for what could be a significant increase in medical need in our state in the coming weeks," Governor Scott said in a statement. "Our state is at its best when Vermonters pull together to help each other. The coming weeks will be very difficult, but united in common purpose, we will face, fight and defeat this virus – and emerge stronger together."
Scott continues to ask for volunteers with medical experience. The state is also looking for volunteers with other skills including drivers, food service, construction, IT, security, and skilled trades. Click here to find out how you can help.
Vermont health officials also announced Thursday that two more testing facilities are up and running in Grand Isle and in Island Pond.