College, hospital and town leaders speak to the community
Leaders from the Town of Middlebury, Porter Medical Center and Middlebury College addressed this letter to the community on Thursday.
Dear Members of the Middlebury Community,
We write in our leadership roles for the town of Middlebury and the larger community of Addison County to share information in the unprecedented time of the coronavirus outbreak. This is an extraordinary moment facing our planet, our nation, our state, and our local community. The most important thing we can do as leaders of the Select Board, Porter Medical Center, and Middlebury College is collaborate and communicate to address the public health concerns facing us.
We are doing just that. The Chair and Vice Chair of the Town Selectboard and the Town’s Senior Leadership Team, Middlebury College Senior Leadership Group, and the Senior Team of Porter Medical Center have met in person and over email to discuss a variety of logistical and communication needs of our community and to maximize our limited resources. We are actively planning, and meeting regularly and frequently.
The Town is taking guidance from the Department of Health, and has identified available assets to meet potential future needs, particularly around infrastructure, facilities, food security, and communication. Police Chief Thomas Hanley is our Emergency Operations Director, and is prepared to stand up the Emergency Operations Center should the need arise. Chief Hanley also heads a smaller Emergency Operations Team consisting of emergency operations professionals from the Town, College, and Hospital. That smaller team has also been in regular and frequent communication over the past several weeks.
At Porter, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anna Benvenuto and Interim President Tom Thompson lead the COVID-19 incident command structure. Porter is highly proactive in its approach to COVID-19 readiness and action. Porter has established and continues to build on major process changes to protect its staff, patients, and ultimately our community. Their core guiding principle in this work is to meet or exceed standards being established on a daily basis by the Centers for Disease Control, Vermont Department of Health, UVM Health Network, and other content experts. Porter has established specific and regular communications to keep our team informed of our work as it unfolds, a true challenge given the magnitude and frequency of events. Porter is posting regular updates for our community on their website: PorterMedical.org. Anyone with questions about this topic from a healthcare perspective or about Porter’s response should visit that website.
Middlebury College is prepared to use its resources to help with these needs and is developing a joint plan with Porter and members of the Town Select Board. The College’s Crisis Management Team, led by President Laurie Patton and Chief of Staff Hannah Ross, in consultation with EVP for Finance and Administration David Provost, College Physician Dr. Mark Peluso, and others, are preparing for various scenarios where the College can share its building, dining, and other infrastructure resources in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community. The College’s guiding principle is to be “on call” for the community and help in any way it can.
We hope this letter serves as reassurance to all in our community that we are proactively collaborating in addressing the coronavirus threat. We have galvanized the rich professional resources that the Town of Middlebury, Addison County, Porter Medical Center, and Middlebury College have to offer. We have already been in touch with members of our state legislature and our national representatives in Congress to share some of the community’s needs. We are always better together. The health and well-being of our community depends on it, now more than ever.
With gratitude for and pride in our community,
Brian Carpenter, Chair, Town Select Board
Thomas Thompson, Interim President, Porter Hospital
Laurie Patton, President, Middlebury College
You can reach us for information at the following websites:
Town of Middlebury: tinyurl.com/w7q7u3l
Middlebury College: go.middlebury.edu/covid19
Porter Hospital: UVMHealth.org/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Join the Town Mail List at tinyurl.com/t9ghm5s