Drop in ER visits amid virus outbreak worries UVM Medical Center officials

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The University of Vermont Medical Center is urging patients with chronic illnesses to keep their appointments, while reassuring Vermonters that its emergency room is safe for non-COVID-19 patients.

Kristin Baker, nurse manager of the emergency departmen, said Wednesday that weekday visits are down by about 50 percent.

“We’re very nervous that members of our community are staying at home and either suffering in pain or suffering alone,” Baker said. “That they’re reluctant to come in for care because they’re fearful of the coronavirus or perhaps misunderstood some of the public message of when to come in.”

Dr. Stephen Leffler said the hospital has enough capacity to handle COVID-19 patients on top of their average patient base.

Starting Thursday, everyone at the medical center will wear a mask. And the hospital said it would begin securing housing for employees who are worried about bringing the virus home.

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