Vt. death toll hits 7; National Guard sets up overflow sites

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 2:02 PM EDT
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As of Tuesday, Vermont has reported at least 95 positive cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.

The Vermont National Guard is stepping in to help hospitals address the COVID-19 crisis. About 50 soldiers will be out for the next three days setting up makeshift hospitals in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

They're called medical surge facilities. There are now two set up at the UVM Medical Center.

Our Erin Brown found out how they will be used.

Their main purpose is to address a potential overflow of patients in the event the hospital cannot accommodate everyone who needs medical attention.

All coronavirus patients will be treated inside the hospital, so the tents are for people who need routine care, not for people who are battling the coronavirus. So if you have a broken bone or need stitches, you can get treated in one of the tents outside the hospital.

The Guard says one tent is for patient treatments; the other is for patients pending discharge.

The Guard says they don't know how many patients they will accommodate but they are prepared.

"We're just here. We have a very small footprint right now. We can adjust this mission or increase to meet the needs to University of Vermont," said Maj. Joseph Phelan of the Vermont National Guard.

The Guard will also set up surge facilities at the Barre Municipal Auditorium and at the Collins Perley Sports and Fitness Center over the next three days.