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The Town of Brattleboro is updating emergency plans and coordinating extensively with other first responders, health care providers, and community leaders in southeastern Vermont to be ready if the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes present here. As of March 2, cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but no cases had yet been confirmed in Vermont.
Town officials are encouraging the public to stay informed about this potential public health threat by monitoring the Vermont Health Department’s daily updates at https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus. The Town added a link to that website in the upper right corner of the Town’s homepage at https://www.brattleboro.org/. “For now,” said Town Manager Peter Elwell, “both the Vermont Health Department and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging people in areas like ours where the virus is not currently known to be present to simply follow good basic health practices such as frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand), staying home when you feel unwell, etc.” Additional information from the CDC also is available on the Vermont Health Department’s COVID-19 web page.
Within Town government, Fire Chief Mike Bucossi serves as the Town’s Emergency Management Director. Chief Bucossi is currently coordinating a variety of pre-incident preparations related to a potential future COVID-19 emergency in Brattleboro. “We are stocking up on applicable supplies and communicating about current preparations and potential future coordinated actions with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH), Rescue Inc., and our internal team of first responders at the Fire Department, Police Department, and Dispatch,” Bucossi said. All Town employees have been advised of these preparations. Town Manager Elwell and Schools Superintendent Lyle Holiday have conferred about potential Town/School coordination.
The Town’s management team is finalizing an operations plan for Town government actions that may become necessary if an active outbreak of COVID-19 is experienced here in Brattleboro. Per the Town’s overarching Local Emergency Management Plan, the COVID-19 Operations Plan will include a “continuity of government” section to ensure staffing of key positions in the event of an actual outbreak that requires individuals to be quarantined in Brattleboro.
Chief Bucossi added that a joint training meeting is being organized by BMH and the Fire Department for area first responders and “contingency plans also are being coordinated with other agencies outside our immediate area for the provision of mutual aid, if needed.”
Please direct any questions to Town Manager Peter Elwell at 802-251-8151, or firstname.lastname@example.org.