Hospital officials eye Northern Vermont University for potential surge of coronavirus cases


Officials at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury are looking ahead in case it needs more beds to treat a surge in patients who test positive for the coronavirus.

Right now, Caledonia County has just one confirmed case of COVID-19, but health officials are considering locations where they can treat overflow patients or house patients separately to lower the risk of transmission.

One potential location is Northern Vermont University, which has campuses in Lyndon and Johnson.

“We’re looking at buildings on our campus,” said Laurel Ruggles, spokesperson for NVRH. . “We actually own quite a few of the buildings here, we have some of our offices, that are housed here on campus. We’re also looking at other spaces in our hospital, where we can relocate some of our in patient beds.”

Sylvia Plumb, NVU’s marketing director, said possible scenarios involve the gyms and residents halls on both campuses. She said the school stands ready to help the community and the state.

Students at NVU were told that they needed to leave campus by the end of the day Wednesday. Vermont Emergency Management has told school officials they may need to use school facilities for community care needs.

Alex DaSilva, a senior at NVU, said he’s beeing going around campu, saying goodbye to friends and enjoying his last moments together on campus.

“Its just very shocking as a whole,” said NVU senior Alex DaSilva. “I completely understand that we have to abide by the state mandates and what the government and the health department is telling us. But it’s just a big shock — one day we were just in classes a few weeks ago, and then all of the sudden, we’re being asked to leave campus.”

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