On November 9th, Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC) had an employee at the Hardwick Area Health Center test positive for COVID-19. This was the first employee to test positive since the pandemic began. The employee began quarantine immediately, and Northern Counties contacted the Vermont Department of Health. Together, the Vermont Department of Health and NCHC identified six patients that will be contacted by the State as part of routine contact tracing. NCHC Medical staff called these patients last night to explain the situation.
“Being honest and transparent is essential to maintaining the trust between a health care organization and its patients and communities,” said Dr. Sarah Morgan, Medical Director of NCHC and a physician at the Hardwick Area Health Center. “We are committed to providing our communities with access to care during the pandemic while being forthright about COVID’s impact on our team and services.”
The Hardwick Area Health Center remains open and patient visits continue. “Patient safety is our first priority,” said Michael Costa, CEO of Northern Counties Health Care. “Northern Counties has taken extraordinary steps to promote safety while maintaining access to care, including offering COVID-19 tests to any staff member at any time for any reason.” Costa added, “we found this case because the employee asked for a test and got one despite having no symptoms: it is a case of vigilance and planning paying off.”
Northern Counties will continue to work with the Vermont Department of Health to make sure any affected community members and employees get the testing and care they need. Updates will be offered to the public on an as needed basis via our website, www.nchcvt.org, and our Facebook page. Any patient with questions should call their local health center.