Vermont officials say they are so desperate to find medical professionals to help with the state’s COVID-19 response, they’re even willing to use veterinarians to help with human care.
Vermont’s in the process of preparing almost 1,000 hospital beds in “medical surge facilities” statewide to help relieve pressure on existing hospitals when the COVID-19 peak arrives, currently expected later this month.
But while officials are capable of setting up the extra beds, they’re asking for help from medical retirees, students and others with some sort of medical experience, including veterinarians. They posted a volunteer sign-up location.
“There isn’t a playbook for this, guys, there just isn’t,” acting Human Services Secretary Michael Smith said during a Thursday press briefing.
“Certainly, veterinarians have extensive medical experience in terms of they’ve gone to school and what they’ve done,” Smith said.
As of Thursday, Vermont reported almost 340 positive cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths. Almost 30 patients were being treated in the state’s hospitals.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.