Vermont Hospitals Respond to COVID-19 with Innovation

April 20, 2020
Back view of man wearing face mask and hospital gown
Vermonters are playing a big role in protecting public health from the novel coronavirus.

Morristown’s Copley Hospital is among a small group of hospitals nationwide that has begun testing staff voluntarily to determine whether they are immune to the virus that causes COVID-19. Such immunity could help alleviate the risk to healthcare workers. The new tests, which are not yet FDA approved, may help keep health care workers and the public safer as governments puzzle out how best to plot the return to normalcy.

University of Vermont Medical Center is also responding to the demands of the virus, allowing nursing students to graduate early so they can help treat patients suffering from COVID-19. The freshly minted nurses are expected to provide relief for current healthcare workers as the urgency of the crisis begins to subside in the summer as anticipated.

UVM teams have also been innovating with medical technology, designing and creating an emergency ventilator for severe COVID-19 cases they’re calling the “Vermontilator.”

The Vermontilator contains far fewer parts than a standard ventilator and takes less time and cost to manufacture. It can be produced quickly and in large numbers, for a few hundreds of dollars per unit, according to the team.  It makes use of an alternate ventilation technique which may allow patients to avoid the most severe pulmonary symptoms of the disease.

The Vermontilator’s design is being submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency review and will hopefully be mass-produced to help stem the tide of COVID-19 cases.

As the pandemic runs its course, these Vermont innovations will become tools that help flatten the curve and care for patients suffering from COVID-19.

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