COVID-19

MIDDLEBURY — After considering the recommendations of state and national health experts, as well as the increasingly restrictive social distancing policies that have been imposed at home and abroad to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Middlebury College announced on Thursday that in-person classes will remain suspended for the rest of the school year and that its May 24 commencement will be held “virtually.” The class of 2020 will eventually have an in-person graduation ceremony, sometime this year or next, conditions permitting. Reunion 2020, which was scheduled for the first...
Editor's note: This story is a message from Addison County State Sen. Ruth Hardy. We're into the second month of the COVID-19 crisis in Vermont and April promises to be even more difficult than March. Current state models project the “peak” of cases between mid-to-late April and early May. The sacrifices we're all making by staying at home are working to slow the spread of the virus, and the following weeks will be critical to saving lives. While it's sure to be a really difficult month for all of us, I'm proud of how the people of our state have pulled together to meet this unbelievable...

ADDISON CENTRAL SCHOOL District board member Mary Gill, donned in protective mask and gloves, help load food onto buses that made deliveries to shut-in children throughout Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — During the past few weeks Middlebury Union High School hasn’t been serving up as much nourishment for the mind as it typically does; the coronavirus has temporarily put a stop to that. But the MUHS kitchen continues to serve up nourishment for the body — and indeed the soul — during an international pandemic that has kept students ensconced in their homes. The Addison Central School District, and other public education hubs throughout the county, are making sure no child goes hungry. As in Addison Northwest, Mount Abraham and Otter Valley school districts, dedicated Addison...

DR. ANNA BENVENUTO
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Hospital has doubled, from three to six, its number of “negative-pressure” rooms in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 patients that could come within the next two weeks, officials said on Tuesday. Negative-pressure rooms are designed to prevent potentially contaminated air from spreading to other areas of the hospital. Lower air pressure in a patient’s room allows air to flow into the room but not escape from it. While the local hospital’s census as of Tuesday included no coronavirus-positive patients, Porter officials are gaining experience with the malady, which has...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE HAS made its Munford House dormitory available to house up to 31 staff from Porter Medical Center as a contingency. None of the staff had moved into this dorm, or two others offered by the college, as of Thursday afternoon. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
MIDDLEBURY — In a continuing effort to work with the town and hospital on measures to address the coronavirus pandemic, Middlebury College has opened one of its dorms as temporary housing for a small number Porter Medical Center (PMC) staff. The employees, who work with residents of PMC’s Helen Porter Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, were scheduled to move into Munford House — a residence hall on South Main Street, just north of the Mahaney Arts Center — on Thursday, according to an April 1 announcement by college officials. Porter spokesperson Ron Hallman on Thursday afternoon said plans...

MIDDLEBURY REGIONAL EMERGENCY Medical Services Director Kate Rothwell, shown at the recent Weybridge town meeting, said first responders are taking care not to become infected with coronavirus. Independent file photo/John S. McCright
ADDISON COUNTY — While residents are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by staying home, that’s not an option for those entrusted with public safety.  Emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police officers must still respond to accidents, crimes, fires and medical crises. And more than ever they must be mindful of not endangering their health and that of those they serve.  City Police Chief George Merkel summed it up:  “We’ve got to continue to do our job, but we’ve got to be smart about it.”   And they must adapt to new guidelines that arrive steadily as experts learn more about the...

MARTIN’S HARDWARE EMPLOYEE Katie Wilch loads items into a customer’s car this past weekend. Martin’s and other businesses that are considered “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic are restricted to providing delivery or curbside pickup service. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
MIDDLEBURY — Like many of our neighbors in Addison County this time of year, my family has a number of home-improvement and gardening projects we’re itching to get started on. But during the coronavirus pandemic getting the supplies you need is a little less straightforward than usual. Gov. Phil Scott ordered the closure of all in-person business operations in Vermont, with a few exceptions. As of this writing, hardware stores in Vermont are included among the businesses and entities providing services or functions deemed “critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national...

WITH GATHERINGS IN Vermont currently restricted to 10 or fewer people, county funeral directors are adjusting the way they coordinate end-of-life services. Some, like Sanderson in Middlebury and Brown McClay in Bristol and Vergennes, expect to see more cancelations and postponements, especially now that travel restrictions will make attendance difficult for out-of-state family members. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
ADDISON COUNTY — End-of-life celebrations are often an occasion for large gatherings, but during the coronavirus pandemic local funeral homes are having to adjust their practices and look for new ways to continue providing the services their clients need. On March 21 Gov. Phil Scott limited gatherings in Vermont to 10 people or fewer. Though funeral services are currently considered “essential” by the state, they must also adhere to the restrictions. “We’re following state guidelines right now,” said Walter Ducharme, funeral director at Sanderson Funeral Services in Middlebury. “It went from...
As the country faces one of the worst health care crisis of the past century, we at the Addison County Independent want you to know that we hear your concerns, your uncertainty, your desires to help others, and need to know how to stay safe and protect those around you. We’re heard you through stories we’ve written, letters to the editor, calls and in personal notes to us.  We also want you to know we’re here for you, just as you have been here for us over the past 75 years. We understand the importance of timely and trustworthy local news and want you to know we are resolute in our duty to...
VERGENNES — In a Wednesday morning Vergennes Regional COVID-19 Group meeting, 18 area officials dealt with topics that included whether communities could enforce social distancing, if the public’s right to know could take priority over infected individuals’ medical privacy rights, and how they were handling public works and title searches. ENFORCEMENT The short answer to the enforcement question was that local communities and law enforcement could only do so much in cases like two mentioned at the meeting: people gathering on the Vergennes green, and others fishing and barbecuing together...

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Addison County Independent