Dear Public Health Professionals, Providers and Advocates:
The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) is a not-for-profit organization whose membership includes a wide variety of individuals who work to promote and sustain the health and wellbeing of all Vermonters and individuals who come to Vermont for a variety of reasons.
We find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented health challenge caused by a global outbreak of a highly contagious virus named the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreading globally and at a rate that is rapidly increasing. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and no way to prevent its rapid spread other than to follow the recommended steps and strategies for prevention that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On their website, www.CDC.gov, you can find resources including five steps to reduce the risk of getting the virus, the signs and symptoms of the disease, and daily updated information on findings about the COVID-19 virus. Please access this dependable site. There are national and regional, well-established health care research centers, but we recommend you check the authenticity and data sources for sites you use for information and updates. A key resource for Vermont health care professionals and the Vermont public is the Vermont Department of Health at www.healthvermont.gov.
The VtPHA Board is deeply grateful for the broad array of public health workers, clinicians and related professionals who work so hard in these demanding times to reduce the threat of COVID-19 spreading rapidly. They are working extended hours and days to meet the public’s and system’s needs. Their work is made even more difficult by the rising demands at hospitals and health centers, and medical supplies that are inadequate to meet the growing need. At this time, we thank the larger community in Vermont for the support and understanding shown for health professionals and the many affected workers who are giving their best effort to respond to the current challenges. As a Vermont community, we all need to observe the recommendations and restrictions by state and national authorities including limits on gatherings, not traveling to other locations except for essential needs and social distancing by staying home and keeping six feet of distance between others in public settings. Although we will need to purchase food and other supplies, it is essential to refrain from buying in excess of what is reasonable so that others can meet their essential needs.
During this global health crises, containment of COVID -19 is essential to lessen the potential strain on the system. Success depends on all of us doing our best to follow the national and local guidance from the CDC, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Vermont Department of Health and other experts in the health care field.
Thank you for your commitment to our common health needs and for your work and support of those on the front lines of health care and public health. We will come through this and be more prepared and better integrated for new and different challenges ahead. For more information on the VtPHA, please visit our website at www.vtpha.org.
Joyce M. Gallimore MPH, CPHQ
Board Member, VtPHA